Child was 17 -- can the parents sue the county and the board of education for this violation of the teacher's duty toward her student?
You need to hire a civil attorney who has experience filing claims against government officials. These are often called 1983 actions. There's also an issue of sovereign immunity anytime you try to bring an action against a governmental entity (which basically means you can't sue the government). Whether the school administrators and/or school board have any liability will likely be based on the facts of your case -- where the sex occurred, what they knew about the teacher's past conduct, were there warnings which were ignored, etc. There may be other possible causes of action in addition to wrongful hiring and retention, etc. I say "maybe" because you will need to have a consultation with an attorney to learn the facts of your case and investigate all potential causes of action.
As others have stated, it's possible but requires knowledge on the part of the school. This can come in many forms but we don't know the answer until you get into discovery after a suit has been filed. Contact one of us who is familiar with these types of cases. We all offer free consultations so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by calling. One thing I would caution against is to make sure none of you are posting info about the case on any social media sites. If you file suit the other side will be scouring those accounts to find anything damaging. In fact, the victim should not post anything because it will be used to undermine her case (ex. Pictures with friends will be used to argue she's fine and hasn't been harmed by the event). Too much to get into but call one of us asap to protect the claim. You have very short timeframes in these cases
While it is certainly possible you have a case, you need and should discuss all the ramifications with a local personal injury attorney. There will be a substantial amount of publicity once a lawsuit is filed. In some States you can file under an initial or john or jane doe, but eventually people will find out. I am not suggesting not to do something, but be prepared for a potential media circus. I wish the best for you and your family.
I agree with the other lawyers' recommendations that you find counsel to advise you in the matter. The area of 1983 litigation is a tricky and obstacle filled area of the law for plaintiffs, particularly in situations like yours. That said, in addition to circumstances where the BOE had or should have had notice of the danger or even potential prior conduct, there are a whole list of cases where liability is founded on the enactment or failure to enact a practice, policy and procedure - the result of which led to the conduct complained of and injury of the plaintiff. These policy claim cases are called Monell claims. In my humble opinion, based on the facts I see, if there is no prior knowledge by the BOE, all may not be lost, and I would discuss the claim with your attorney.
I wish you well, and I am very sorry your family finds itself in these unfortunate circumstances.
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