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Special-needs student sexually assaulted at Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy

6/24/2013, 4:52 p.m.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A 13-year-old boy was sexually assaulted by another student during gym class at a South Los ...
Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A 13-year-old boy was sexually assaulted by another student during gym class at a South Los Angeles middle school, an attorney for the boy’s family alleged today, contending the attack highlights continued failures by the Los Angeles Unified School District to protect students.

An attorney for the district, however, insisted that students are protected, and said school officials acted promptly when they learned of the allegations and notified police.

Brian Claypool, who represents the boy’s family, said the seventh-grader is developmentally disabled and should have had extra supervision as a special-needs students. He said the boy was assaulted by an eighth-grade student during a gym class at Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy about two weeks ago.

Claypool said the attack — carried out behind some bleachers by a male student who wasn’t even in the same class — occurred despite efforts by the boy’s mother, who had talked to school administrators earlier because of reports that her son was being bullied at the campus.

The attack is indicative of “a 20-year pattern of willfully failing to supervise teachers to safeguard children,” according to Claypool, who also represents the families of students who were allegedly abused by teachers at Miramonte Elementary School.

David Holmquist, attorney for the LAUSD, said the district takes allegations of “student-on-student misconduct” seriously.

“Upon learning of the allegations, the school site acted to appropriately document and notify authorities of the suspected abuse,” he said. “Although we cannot comment on the specific allegations or any potential lawsuit in this case, we are committed to ensuring student safety at all times.

“Our principals, teachers and other school employees do everything humanly possible to ensure student safety and are consistently trying to make school sites as safe as possible,” Holmquist said.

The boy’s mother said, however, that hearing her son had been assaulted shook her confidence in the school to protect her child.

“As a mother, you’re devastated when you get a phone call saying that your child has been sexually assaulted,” she said. “Any person with a child knows your number-one priority is to protect them. And God forbid you drop them off at school thinking that they’re safe and they come home a different kid because somebody out there thought it was their God-given right to do something to them that wasn’t supposed to be done.”