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Pregnant Shadd student sues teacher

A D.C. special education teacher at Shadd Transition Academy had sex in his classroom with an emotionally disturbed 18-year-old student, resulting in her pregnancy, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.

The suit, filed Monday by Ayanna Blue, now 20, said that paternity tests show a 99.9 percent probability that Robert Weismiller, 58, the former Shadd teacher, is the father of her baby daughter, born November 28, 2009.

The suit, first reported by Courthouse News Service, alleges that Weismiller initiated the relationship in the spring of 2008, and names Shadd staff who said it was well known that the two were having a sexual relationship. One staff member, clinical psychologist Trawick Lindsay, said in the suit that Blue would "frequently visit" Weismiller's classroom, and that he had observed her there during lunch period, with the lights off.

Weismiller was placed on unpaid administrative leave by school officials in May 2009 after they learned that Blue was pregnant. He was dismissed in Oct. 2009, not for his alleged relationship with Blue, but one of the 266 teachers let go for what Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee described as a budget crunch.

Rhee described Weismiller -- but did not name him -- in comments to "Fast Company" magazine earlier this year. To justify the layoffs, she said that an unspecified number of the teachers let go had had sex with students. She later amended the comments to say that only one was alleged to have had a sexual relationship.

School officials said at the time that Weismiller was not fired before the layoffs because the investigation against him was still pending. The suit alleges that DCPS actually acquitted Weismiller of any misconduct. The suit alleges, without specifics, that Weismiller "has had inappropriate relationships with students in the past."

The suit says that Blue, who was classified by the D.C. schools as "emotionally disturbed," has started 12th grade for a second time at Shadd and that she continues to suffer emotionally and financially. It says she has been forced to move out of her mother's house and is currently living in a short-term transitional living program in D.C. It says she is uncertain where she will go next and that she fears homelessness. It also says that Weismiller, who is believed to live in Ocean City, still calls her.

The suit, a civil rights action, asks for unspecified punitive and compensatory damages against Weismiller and DCPS. Here is a pdf of the suit, as posted by Courthouse News Service.

By Bill Turque  |  September 9, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

Sounds like both the teacher and the student are emotionally disturbed. The baby probably would be better off being put up for adoption.

Posted by: DecafDrinker | September 9, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

"One staff member, clinical psychologist Trawick Lindsay, said in the suit that Blue would "frequently visit" Weismiller's classroom, and that he had observed her there during lunch period, with the lights off."

Uhhhhh . . . shouldn't he have intervened at that time?

Posted by: RepealObamacareNow | September 9, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Why did Rhee protect the Special Education Teacher, principal and Deputy Superintendent of Shadd School?

Rhee must be held accountable for a conspirarcy to fired 266 DCPS employees on October 2, 2009 to protect Mr. Weismiller's sexually misconduct and to destroy 265 DCPS Educators' lives/careers who have served our DCPS students.

Correction:
Rhee clearly stated in the Fast Company National Magazine, "I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school. Why wouldn't we take those things into consideration?"

Again, I got rid of TEACHERS....not one teacher......

Rhee stated that it was "ONE" teacher after Chairman Vincent Gray demanded/requested a full investigation fron Chief Lanier and Rhee after her famous quote in the Fast Company Naitonal Magazine. (February 2010)

Don't get it twisted, Justice Must Prevail for the 266... Reinstate the 266 DCPS Wrongfully Terminated Educators..NOW!!!


Enough is Enough,
Rhee and Fenty MUST GO!!

Posted by: sheilahgill | September 9, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

...The suit alleges that DCPS actually acquitted Weismiller of any misconduct. ...How can that be when the paternity suit says there is a 99.9% chance that he is the father of the child? That names him as the father--even on the Jerry Springer show.

Posted by: mbrumble | September 9, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh my gosh the fun we're going to have with this one...
She was determined to be emotionally disturbed...does this include visually disturbed? Did she not know he was 58!
As for him...this is the guy who gives bascially all men a bad name. He obviously knew her situation and exploited it.
But since she's 18 at the time I have trouble seeing how this is DCPS's fault.
File a paternity suit against him...completely understandable. Not sure how DCPS is supposed to know a girl old enough for legal consent is going to bang her teacher?

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | September 9, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh my gosh the fun we're going to have with this one...
She was determined to be emotionally disturbed...does this include visually disturbed? Did she not know he was 58!
As for him...this is the guy who gives bascially all men a bad name. He obviously knew her situation and exploited it.
But since she's 18 at the time I have trouble seeing how this is DCPS's fault.
File a paternity suit against him...completely understandable. Not sure how DCPS is supposed to know a girl old enough for legal consent is going to bang her teacher?

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | September 9, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I think there should be a form a teacher signs agreeing not to have sexual contact with any student, regardless of age.

Posted by: educationlover54 | September 9, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

This is one of the worst violations that can be made by someone who is supposed to be a trusted authority figure. It is particularly troubling that the student is emotionally impaired.

Posted by: 10bestfan | September 9, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

@ BigDaddy651, read the article one more time and the actual lawsuit filed (it is available in PDF at the bottom of the article). Why is it DCPS schools fault?
1.) Well they hired this man who had a history of sexual abuse in his past.
2.) The child was emotionally disturbed and while she may have been 18 it is clear that she does not have the mind of an 18 year old or understand the repercussions of her actions.
3.) The relationship was know about for months by school administrators yet they chose to do nothing.

Rhea, DCPS and Weismiller are all at fault here and are rightfully named as defendants in the suit.

@mbrumble, Weismiller's acquittal by DCPS just affirms what we already know; DCPS and Rhea were trying to sweep this under the rug because it is clear that they were negligent not only in the hiring of Weismiller but in their choice to turn a blind eye when the accusations were made. Weismiller should have never been allowed in a school setting again if he been previously accused of sexual misconduct as the suit alleges. Shame on all of them! SMH!

Posted by: teach4usa | September 9, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

So Rhee knew about this at the time it was happening and decided to cover it up instead of getting the guy out of the school to prevent further harm.

Then she decided to sweep him out under the cover of the RIF and then oops she lets it slip that the RIF included teachers who had sex with children, which led the city council to determine, after an investigation, that it was just this one guy who Rhee let stay in the system and now almost a year later, this lawsuit explains everything.

What an incredible manager she is. It takes a real miracle worker to pull a stunt like this.

And the truth comes out right before the election.

We'll be seeing this on the front page, right, Bill?

Michelle Rhee, 10/08: “Have I made some wrong decisions? Yeah. But the bottom line is, the reason I can sleep at night, really soundly every night, is because I know that even if I didn’t make the right call, I made it because I believed at that moment that it was the best thing for kids.”
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200810u/michelle-rhee

Sweet dreams, Michelle.

Posted by: efavorite | September 9, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

If you support the teacher's union vote Gray; if you support the students vote Fenty.

Posted by: psuvo | September 9, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

teach4usa,
"The suit alleges, without specifics, that Weismiller "has had inappropriate relationships with students in the past."
This is simply an allegation within the suit itself...they do not provide any evidence of it.
"The suit, first reported by Courthouse News Service, alleges that Weismiller initiated the relationship in the spring of 2008, and names Shadd staff who said it was well known that the two were having a sexual relationship. One staff member, clinical psychologist Trawick Lindsay, said in the suit that Blue would "frequently visit" Weismiller's classroom, and that he had observed her there during lunch period, with the lights off."
Again, you're simply taking allegations in the suit as fact.
Did anyone report the suspected relationship? It doesn't appear so. Where is it stated that it was known about for months?
I'm not saying he isn't responsible but this looks a lot like an attempt at a money grab from the schools.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | September 9, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

skanks

Posted by: jiji1 | September 9, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

So, this is the teacher who got 265 of his colleagues fired.

Posted by: TripLBee | September 9, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

@BigDaddy651

Read the 14 pages in the law suit.

Posted by: teach4usa | September 9, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

A 58 year-old heterosexual teacher having sex with an emotionally disturbed student? This guy must be hard up for scoring with women.

Posted by: localgoober | September 9, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Sad that an employee can be terminated when one files sexual harrassment charges with little or no merit...even if you are one witnessing harrassment can file against the party...so easy...and here we have a teacher...

The employee who witnessed this student in a darkened classroom with the teacher is also an enabler...and should be punished by the school system....

Posted by: pentagon40 | September 9, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I guess it was in Ms. Blue's best interest for Rhee to keep this quiet and to wait to fire the perpetrator until she created a bogus RIF. I mean, she does make decisions that are in "kids'" best interest, right? Kinda like intervening in her fiance's scandalous relations with the young girls at St. Hope.

Posted by: shame_the_devil | September 9, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

All of the Rhee cheerleaders should click on the link in the article above that details the lawsuit. The second point is very revealing. It basically says rhee and other DCPS officials knew of the relationship and did nothing about it. The teacher did not even receive a reprimand!

This only goes to show what I have always maintained: Rhee cares nothing about these children. She only uses them as pawns in her overzealous, ladder-climbing, status-seeking, self-aggrandizing agenda.

Enough with the experiments on, and exploitation of, these Black and hispanic children!!

Posted by: shame_the_devil | September 9, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

If Rhee did know about this, and did not get rid of the offending teacher at the time she had better explain this.

Most likely she won't get in any hot water for this - she can get away with anything unethical as long as her friends with money keep backing her.

Posted by: educationlover54 | September 9, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

I just read through the suit, it is easy and fast reading. I recommend everyone do it.

Posted by: educationlover54 | September 9, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Unless the student is pregnant again, the title of the article is incorrect and misleading.

Posted by: DecafDrinker | September 9, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

This girl shouldn't have to face homelessness. This loser "teacher" should be paying for her to live and support this child.

Posted by: kodonivan | September 9, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

This should be a front-page story. Instead, it's relegated to a non-descript title under "Crime & Safety" on the Local page. The title, "Pregnant student sues teacher" deliberately omits "D.C." for obvious fear that it will entice more readers, who will ultimately discover that the first defendant in the lawsuit is not the low-life teacher, but its darling, Michelle Rhee.

So predictable, Post. No wonder your stock has plummeted.

Posted by: schooletal | September 9, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

what does 'emotionally disturbed' mean legally? can she get a drivers license? can she work at the post office or any other government job? would she be permitted to join the military?

I understand what mentally disabled mean, but what does emotionally disturbed mean from a legal perspective. I know many people who are emotionally disturbed.

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | September 9, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

@sheilahgill

Honestly Get a GRIP. Rehire the 266 Incompetent & messed up Teachers? That 266 included Robert Weismiller, the alleged "father" of the baby.

I applaud Rhee's efforts, she is doing all the dirty work for DCPS that has needed to be done for decades. It might upset some, but for the common good of the city, it residents and the children, Rhee is right on!

Posted by: CapHillResII | September 10, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Honestly caphillresII, get a grip - if you read the suit, you'd see that DCPS knew about Weismiller before he got the girl pregnant and didn't remove him at the time, which they could have and should have done.

If you'd followed earlier news reports, you'd know that the teachers were RIFd due to budget problems, not fired for cause, and Rhee herself said that not all the teachers were bad. You'd also know that some of them had just been hired by DCPS the summer before the RIF and had no chance to prove their worth. Another teacher had just achieved prestigious National Board status and had been honored by Rhee a few months before.

Please get your facts straight.

Posted by: efavorite | September 10, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

"The suit, first reported by Courthouse News Service, alleges that Weismiller initiated the relationship in the spring of 2008, and names Shadd staff who said it was well known that the two were having a sexual relationship. One staff member, clinical psychologist Trawick Lindsay, said in the suit that Blue would "frequently visit" Weismiller's classroom, and that he had observed her there during lunch period, with the lights off."
_________________

While teaching in Maryland, I was told that under the law, teachers and other educational professionals 'in the know' were LEGALLY obligated to report inappropriate behavior such as that described above or not only risk losing their jobs, but possibly their certification - similar to being disbarred in the case of a lawyer.

That ANY of the professionals involved had this knowledge, and that it concerned an emotionally disturbed student, is cause for grave concern. Does the district not have laws governing professionals such as the one I described in Maryland? Where were the administrators? If Trawick Lindsay,a clinical psychologist, knew as much as the story infers, and he did nothing........Ultimately the responsibility is Rhee's, and if she did not act swiftly once she had the knowledge, that should be serious cause for questioning her ability to have a position of educational leadership.

When I worked in a special education school, and there was a new young teacher with whom there were immediate suspicions of inappropriate behavior with students, that teacher was let go within weeks.

Posted by: PLMichaelsArtist-at-Large | September 10, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Kudos and appreciaiton to efavorite for her comments.

Caphillrest11:
Michelle Rhee is a "Damaged Controller." Rhee attempted to save Kevin Johnson, her finance, as well as Mr. Weismiller (child molester), Shadd School New Leader Principal and Associate Superintendent. Clearly, Rhee is out of her league and deserves a "Vote of No Confidence."

Again, Ms. Rhee should have fired Mr. Weismiller and had him investigated as an alledged child molester (SY 08-09). The evidence was very obvious and Rhee's Administration covered up the story to save Rhee's image. Unfortunately, it appears that Rhee's administration did not care about the 18 year old Special Education Emotionally Disturbed student in Ward 7.

How can a Chancellor dismiss any sex act that occurred in a DCPS Special Education Facility classroom on numerous occasions?

Yes, reinstate the 265 Wrongfully Terminated DCPS Employees, NOW!

Why did Rhee include Mr. Weismiller in the 266 manufactured Reduction in Force - October 2, 2009? Clearly, this is a conspiracy to destroy DCPS educators by any means necessary. Stop drinking the Rhee Kool Aid!! Rhee must be held accountable for her actions immediately!!!!

Enough is Enough, Rhee and Fenty MUST Go!

Posted by: sheilahgill | September 10, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

This student is mentally handicapped. The teacher took advantage of this student mentally and sexually. The school was well aware of what was going on because the student did inform the school staff of the sexual encounters.

Posted by: tip1 | September 10, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

BigDaddy651:

I'm not sure that DCPS can dodge this one. IDEA (the law governing special education services) state that a special education student is entitled to a free and appropriate public educatio (FAPE) and the system is obligated to provide it until the age of 21. So...why would DCPS not be held liable for failing to provide such an education? Don't know, but if I were representing the child--and clearly I am not--I certainly would go after DCPS on this one.

Posted by: vscribe | September 10, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

OMG. Has anybody in DC ever heard of "Mandatory Reporter?" If you work with children or people with disabilities (of all ages), in any capacity, you are REQUIRED by law to report even suspicions of abuse or neglect. This was very clearly abuse, even if the girl was 18.

Posted by: jennthehen | September 10, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I used to work at the Transition Academy @ Shadd, and I must attest to the conditions that were described at the school i8n the lawsuit. Shadd has NO business being a school for emotionally disturbed students. The facilities are woefully inadequate for that type of specialized school. The staff are poorly trained to deal with the challenging behaviors of these students. There are numerous fights everyday that threaten the safety of both students and staff. Little to no instruction takes place, students who are enrolled at the school rarely, if ever, come to school, and IF they do, they routinely cut class or abscond the building.

Shadd should NOT be a diploma-track school. These students could care less about learning. Shadd should be a center that assists students with dealing with their behavior, while preparing them for everyday survival- life skills, how to become employable, etc. I worked with the student who is bringing the lawsuit forward, and, bless her heart, but mentally she is slower than a tortoise.

About mandated reporting. Any adult working with children or special needs persons are bound by law to report even suspicions of abuse and neglect, whether sexual, physical, or educational (in the case of school-aged children) to the proper authorities. EVERY person who knew about this sexual relationship between Ms. Blue and Mr. Weismiller, should be terminated IMMEDIATELY and never allowed to work with children and special needs persons again. Ms. Blue was clearly taken advantaged of by Mr. Weismiller, and he should be providing for the child he fathered.

DCPS and Chancellor Rhee is at fault as well. There were obvious red flags raised, and her administration sat pat and did nothing. That is, at minimum, a breach of public trust, and at maximum, criminal neglect by her administration.

Posted by: LUlion07 | September 10, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Rhee is named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Q: Does anyone wish to investigate where Kevin Johnson was during the course of the alleged sexual misconduct?

This seems to be "A Case of Deja Vu All Over Again"

Posted by: AGAAIA | September 13, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

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