Berkeley Student Charges Sexual Harassment Against School District

According to the Bay Citizen, a senior Berkeley High student is suing a school counselor for sexual harassment. The lawsuit was filed in federal court against the school district and Anthony Smith after the response by the earlier complaints was unsatisfactory. The suit also names Superintended William Huyett as a defendant.

The student claims she was subjected to severe and pervasive sexual harassment and has been unable to secure adequate preventive or remedial measures to protect her or other Berkeley school students. The family of the student, name not revealed, filed a protective order against Anthony Smith last September after an investigation by the school district. The investigation found the counselor guilty of unprofessional behavior but not harassment. Smith is currently employed as a counselor at the school even though the investigation promised to take disciplinary action.

The student’s attorney said no action has been taken by the school to protect the students’ well being against harassment and that the parents tried for a very long time to work it out with the school. However, the investigation by the school found that the student was a credible witness but action is yet to have been taken, including suspending the counselor or implementing practices to protect young women.

The district said it was limited in what actions it could take by union regulations, and that it had to comply with the collective bargaining agreement between the district and Berkeley Federation of Teachers which includes limitations in teacher transfers. The sexual harassment lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages but the family is said to be hoping for a settlement that will implement protective safeguards for young women.