Parents claim second-grader was sexually harassed

Associated Press

BELLEVUE – A 7-year-old girl was taunted and sexually harassed by boy classmates, who held her down on more than one occasion and spoke of having sex with her, according to a claim filed by her parents against the Bellevue School District.

The parents allege that school officials knew of the alleged harassment but did not stop it. The claim is the first step toward filing a lawsuit, and the district has 60 days to respond.

The district disputes the allegations.

The claim alleges harassment began after the girl, now 9, failed a hearing test when she was a second-grader at Newport Heights Elementary. Her mother said the girl has been nearly deaf in one ear since suffering viral meningitis in kindergarten.

Alleged incidents include the following:

_ A “male student drew a nude picture of (the girl) which depicted breasts and pubic hair.”

_ Two boys held her down and told her another boy “was going to have sex with her on Valentine’s Day.”

_ Several boys “called the girl names, pinned her up against a wall and poked her breasts with pencils.”

“This case is amazing when you consider the age of the boys,” said Yvonne Kinoshita Ward, attorney for the parents.

The district “disagrees with the parents’ allegations,” said Bellevue School District area manager Eva Collins, adding “we believe the principal acted appropriately in the situation consistent with the information we had at the time.”

She said she could not discuss details of the case because of state and federal laws about student privacy.

Principal Marian Peiffer said she took sexual harassment seriously but that “you don’t use the words ‘sexual harassment’ when you’re talking to second-graders.”

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