A student and her mother sued a school district and several employees of the district after the student was sexually molested on multiple occasions by her same-sex dance teacher. The abuse began when the student was 16 years old, and continued until she graduated. While the abuse was occurring, the student’s grades changed, she withdrew from her classmates and dance teammates, and with her mother’s consent, she went to live in the teacher’s home. The teacher spent excessive amounts of time with the student behind closed doors, and took her on out-of-town trips during which they would share a room and a bed. The lawsuit alleged that school officials observed these signs of sexual abuse but did nothing. After the student graduated, the student told a former dance instructor about what had happened. The dance instructor reported the allegations to the authorities and the teacher was arrested. She ultimately pleaded guilty to an improper relationship with a student and was sentenced to 10 years deferred adjudication and probation.

The student and her mother alleged that the school district and its employees were liable for monetary damages as a result of the teacher’s conduct. The District Court disagreed and dismissed all of the defendants from the lawsuit except for the teacher who committed the abuse. In doing so, the court found that no district employee had actual knowledge of a sexual relationship; nor was there any actual knowledge of a substantial risk that abuse would occur. The court looked at the facts and concluded that although parents and students complained that the teacher had an “inappropriate,” “obsessive and unusual relationship” with the student, nobody had ever alleged that they had a sexual relationship. Because the facts did not show that any specific person apart from the offending teacher had knowledge of the sexual relationship, the district and its employees could not be sued.