A federal judge has dismissed former Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, DCPS and the District government from a lawsuit filed by an emotionally disabled student who became pregnant during a relationship with a teacher at the Transition Academy at Shadd in 2009.
U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg did, however, rule that the case against the teacher, Robert Weismiller, can proceed. The former student, Ayanna Blue, is seeking unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.
The lawsuit said paternity tests showed a 99.9 percent probability that Weismiller, 60, is the father of Blue’s daughter, who was born Nov. 28, 2009. It alleges that Weismiller began the relationship with Blue, then 18, in spring 2008, and names Shadd staff who said it was well-known that the two were having sex in his classroom. When Blue told school administrators about the relationship, officials suspended Weismiller but later said there was not enough proof to fire him. He was ultimately let go as part of a round of budget-driven layoffs in October 2009.
Blue sought to hold Rhee, DCPS and the District liable for mismanagement of Shadd and negligence in hiring Weismiller. Blue’s filing alleges that prior to coming to Shadd, Weismiller had improper relationships with students while working at schools in Prince William and Prince George’s counties, and that four of the women have come forward.
But Boasberg said in an opinion issued Thursday that Rhee could not be sued personally for acting in her official capacity, and that DCPS could not be sued separately from the District. He also said that Blue failed to show that specific District policies and decisions, including teacher screening and hiring practices, had violated her constitutional rights.
Scott Gilbert, Blue’s attorney, said he was “disappointed” with the ruling. “We believe his decision is fundamentally wrong and we will appeal,” he said.
Weismiller did not return a phone message Friday.
The ruling was first reported by Leagle.com.