D.C. student files lawsuit, says teacher fathered her child
Friday, September 10, 2010
Staff at a D.C. high school suspected that a teacher was having sex with an emotionally disturbed student in his darkened classroom but did nothing to stop the encounters that led to her pregnancy, according to a lawsuit filed by the student in U.S. District Court this week.
Ayanna Blue, 20, a senior at Shadd Transition Academy in Southeast Washington, said in the suit that paternity tests show a better than 99 percent probability that Robert Weismiller, 58, a teacher until he was laid off in October, is the father of her daughter born Nov. 28, 2009.
The suit also alleges that Weismiller, who has worked in public and charter schools in Virginia and the District, "has had inappropriate relationships with other students in the past."
Weismiller, who reportedly lives in Ocean City, did not return a cellphone message Thursday.
The suit alleges that he met Blue when she was a student in his class and began a five-month relationship with her in fall 2008, having sex with her in his classroom and car. The suit quotes Weismiller as telling Blue, then 18, "If I was 30 years younger, I would marry you."
It was not until May last year, when Blue reported to school officials that she was pregnant, that an investigation began, the suit alleges. It cites five staff members who told investigators that they had either seen Weismiller alone with Blue in his classroom or had heard rumors that the two were having a sexual relationship.
They include an educational aide who said that Blue would enter Weismiller's classroom when he took other students to lunch and that he saw her there up to four times a day. A clinical psychologist said that Blue would "frequently visit" Weismiller's classroom and that he'd see them there with the lights off.
Scott Gilbert, Blue's attorney, said the District failed his client by enabling continued exposure to a sexual predator.
"It's an utter disgrace, from top to bottom," he said. "She received no help, of any kind, from the school. They were very good at sitting on their hands."
Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee denied the allegations and said Thursday that the school system acted in a timely and responsible manner. She said Shadd officials first learned of the relationship from a teacher and acted promptly to remove Weismiller from the classroom.
Weismiller was placed on administrative leave May 5, 2009, and the allegations were reported to D.C. police. But Rhee said that because Blue was 18, the matter was referred to school system investigators. Rhee said staff statements cited in the suit did not offer definitive proof that Weismiller and Blue were having an intimate relationship. With Weismiller denying his guilt, the situation became "a he said, she said."
Although the suit says that Weismiller was cleared of misconduct, Rhee said that is not true. She said the matter was kept open until a paternity test could prove that he was the father.