The superintendent of Greenville Independent School District late Tuesday sent an email to parents denying the allegations spelled out in a lawsuit filed last week by two parents against the district.
The statement from Superintendent Demetrus Liggins came about 18 hours after news broke about the lawsuit, which alleges that a child attending the KGJ STEM Academy in Greenville ISD was sexually assaulted by another student twice on campus and that school and district officials failed to report the first incident or protect the child from the second abuse incident, among other alleged offenses.
"Over the last day, the school district has received a number of questions about a lawsuit that has been filed against Greenville ISD," Liggins wrote in the email to parents. "As of July 2, GISD officials have not been formally served with the lawsuit, nor has the attorney representing the plaintiffs contacted our attorney about the filing. GISD acknowledges that the lawsuit contains allegations that are upsetting to our teachers, staff, and to our community.
"GISD denies the allegations in this lawsuit and will vigorously defend against it," Liggins' email continued. "As the lawsuit progresses, GISD will be in a position to introduce evidence in court to refute the plaintiffs’ allegations. However, GISD cannot otherwise comment on pending litigation. We appreciate your understanding and we ask for your patience while this matter progresses in court."
Liggins said it is the district's mission to provide excellent teaching and learning in a safe environment, and promised that GISD administrators "will continue to provide training to all staff on safety procedures and protocols, and we will continue to follow those processes."
Board policies concerning student health and welfare can be found online at https://pol.tasb.org/Policy/Section/695?filter=F, he noted.
"As your superintendent, I pledge to you that GISD will remain committed to student success and safety," Liggins' email concluded.
Prior to the Herald-Banner's publication of the initial report on its website Monday night and in Tuesday's print edition, Liggins had declined to comment on the lawsuit when contacted by email, saying "It would be premature to comment on a lawsuit of which we have not received a copy," Liggins wrote in a reply email late Monday. "The District has not been served with any paperwork indicating there was a lawsuit filed."
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Dallas on June 27 by attorneys Dugan Kelley and Matthew Clarke of Kelley Clarke PLLC in Prosper, on behalf of the two Greenville parents and their minor child – none of whom are being named in this publication to protect the student's privacy. It alleges in detail two instances of sexual abuse of the child, allegedly perpetrated by another minor student at the STEM Academy, and the parents' interactions with school officials after both incidents. Greenville's KGJ STEM Academy houses grades kindergarten through fifth grade.
The Herald-Banner's full report on the lawsuit can be found online at http://bit.ly/309tr65.