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Federal Lawsuit Against Macomb School District

A judge in Rock Island will hear a civil lawsuit against the Macomb School District, its high school principal, and the high school assistant principal. Two former students are asking for a jury to award them $10 million. 

The complaint states that two female students were sexually assaulted and harassed repeatedly on school grounds by a fellow student who is the son of a math teacher at the school.

The federal lawsuit involves juveniles so no names were included in the court filings.

The lawsuit states that the female students reported the incidents to Principal John Rumley and Assistant Principal Ed Fulkerson. It accuses both administrators of failing to investigate, make arrangements to prevent future harassment, or enforce a civil order of protection.

According to the lawsuit, the girls were told by Principal Rumley that, “Guys are going to do what guys are going to do.” Eventually, both female students ended up leaving the high school after repeatedly reporting complaints to administrators. The lawsuit claims that the actions of the school district and administration violated Title IX and civil rights law, and sexually discriminated against the female students.

The male student is accused of sexually abusing one of the girls when they were both freshmen at the high school and the other girl when she was a freshmen and he was a senior.

According to the lawsuit, the McDonough County state’s attorney filed juvenile criminal sexual abuse charges against the male student in the fall of 2016. It also states that the student served time in a juvenile detention facility in the summer of 2017 and wrote a letter of apology. Tri States Public Radio has not been able to access those court records because it is a juvenile case.

The federal civil lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Peoria. But was transferred to Rock Island Wednesday and assigned to Judge Sara Darrow. A summons to appear was issued to the Macomb School District, Ed Fulkerson and John Rumley.

The Macomb School District was not immediately available to respond to a request for comment. The Board of Education's meeting is on Monday, February 26 at Macomb High School.

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.