It’s bad enough that there is a growing pattern among public school staff being accused of sexual misconduct with students. But it’s even worse when it is found that school officials might have been able to prevent these heinous acts from happening in the first place. This seems to be the case with Seattle Public Schools, where a former student was just shelled out $3 million from the district after a lawsuit claims that her high school and school leaders failed to protect the student from years of sexual abuse.
The Post Millenial reported that the incidents of sexual abuse began in 2016 when the 15-year-old female student would have been a sophomore at Ballard High School. The perpetrator was Meghan Miller, a soccer coach for the school, and an educator working with special needs students. The student stepped forwards with her reports of sexual abuse in 2018, and they proved to be quite horrific. The anonymous female student stated that she was abused weekly, according to allegations in the lawsuit filed in 2020. Furthermore, the teenager was abused for two years of her high school experience, saying that the abuse went right up until the point she gained the courage to speak out against the educator.
What makes this case so horrific, is the evidence showing that the school neglected to protect the young student from sexual abuse. In the lawsuit’s findings, Miller was previously fired from another high school for similar reasons. Attorneys discovered that the former teacher was actually hired by the same district back in 2007. At the time, she was hired as an assistant girls’ soccer coach and basketball coach, according to reports from Kiro 7 News.
In 2007, Megan Miller served her role with the district at Roosevelt High School for two years. Although she was never found guilty of any sexual abuse at that time, Dixon Law Firm PLLC uncovered reports from Miller’s direct supervisor describing a slew of incidents she described as “predatory behavior” at the time. Furthermore, her supervisor addressed repeat offenses of “boundary violations” with students at the high school. Her reports eventually led to her termination from the school in 2009.
Despite all this, Miller was somehow rehired at Ballard High School, within the same school district, in which she ultimately abused at least one student over and over. After being arrested in 2018, Miller was charged with child molestation in the third degree, along with two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor. She plead guilty to her sexual abuse charges in 2019 and is now a registered sex offender.
When the lawsuit was brought up against Seattle Public Schools for failing to identify the obvious and blatant disturbing allegations against Miller, the district settled out of court before it could go to trial. Now, one student is $3 million richer, but her life is scarred forever. Unfortunately for students like this one, incidents like this, depicting negligence on school officials’ part, seem to be a growing concern all around the country.
In recent months, G2T reported on the astonishing laws that govern how states and governments protect children in schools from these cases of sexual abuse, and the findings were quite shocking. Multiple lawmakers reached out to the Secretary of Education, discussing growing concerns of reports of teachers being fired because of cases of sexual misconduct, only to be rehired at other schools. To this, these senators pointed out the lack of information and studies the Department of Education makes public on cases of sexual abuse in schools. The problem seems to perpetually worsen all across the nation, as many parents and policymakers champion efforts to combat it.