A lawsuit has been filed over claims that a Pearl City High School student was sexually assaulted by another student who has autism.
The incident occurred in April 2012.
According to the lawsuit, the female student was assaulted twice in the Pearl City Cultural Center auditorium, which is located on campus, before band rehearsal.
The lawsuit claims the student who assaulted her was assigned an adult aide to supervise him at all times “to prevent him from assaulting, threatening, terrorizing, and/or bullying the other students.”
But the aide, the lawsuit claims, was sleeping in the audience section when the assaults occurred.
“He’s taking a snooze up in the bleachers, and this young man is like six feet tall. My client weighs 95 pounds. He grabbed her,” said attorney Michael Green.
The lawsuit was filed against the Board of Education, Department of Education, the school’s vice principal, the aide, and the student.
“They have an obligation. When you’re watching a kid that has a history for violence, you (need to) have someone that understands the role they have in watching that kid during school,” Green said.
We pressed the DOE for answers about what type of training these aides are given.
A spokeswoman sent us a statement that said the aides are usually educational assistants, and they are given a rigorous background check.
According to a DOE report from January 2016, “the vendor is responsible to validate their employees’ credentials prior to performing services for the DOE. Currently, SES [Special Education Section] also reviews the employee’s credentials prior to entering the employee into eCSSS [electronic Comprehensive Student Support System] as well as checking the employee’s credentials again when they perform annual monitoring on-site reviews of the vendors. In total, the employee’s credentials are checked three (3) times…”
Schools can choose to contract paraprofessionals, or skills trainers, from various agencies.
The report states that “SES did not have written procedures documenting their current contract monitoring practice that includes, how often reviews should be conducted, how many samples to test, and the goals and objectives of the reviews. IA [Internal Audit] also noted, that SES mainly relies on the schools to monitor the quality of the contracted services as they are the ones who work directly with them; however, SES does review data collected (if available) to check for student progress.”