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Family suing Grandville Schools over alleged sexual assaults

Posted: 2:06 PM, Mar 22, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-22 14:06:25-04

GRANDVILLE, Mich. — The mother and father of a young student in Grandville are suing the district for allegedly not protecting their son against sexual assaults they say happened in his classroom.

The parents, using John and Jane Doe aliases, filed the suit against the district on Tuesday.    The complaint accuses the school of “gross negligence” for allowing their son to be assaulted and then subsequently harassed.  The harassment, according to the suit, eventually drove the student to attend another school district.

The complaint says that the alleged assaults happened while their son was in kindergarten at the Century Park Learning Center in Grandville Public Schools during both the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years.  The assaults were allegedly perpetrated by classmates and photographed using school-issued iPads.

Named in the complaint are Ron Caniff, who was the District Superintendent at the time, Roger Bearup, the current superintendent, Scott Merkel, who was the “Anti-Harassment Compliance Officer”,  Tonia Shoup, the principal of Century Park and Hillary Huberts, the kindergarten teacher.

Superintendent Roger Bearup issued this statement Thursday afternoon:

This past Tuesday evening, we were alerted of a formal complaint filed in Federal
Court regarding alleged incidents that are claimed to have taken place beginning in
2014. We were able to review the official revised document yesterday, March 21.
Subject to FERPA laws and pending litigation, we cannot respond in detail to the
allegations; however, we assure you that our focus is and always will be the safety
and care of every student who walks through our doors. Our teachers, principals,
and district administration taken great pride in that. Litigation is meant to be an
avenue to the truth. We patiently wait for that truth to be revealed. Until then, we
will have no further comment.