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A.B v. Vineland Board of Education

United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage

June 4, 2019

A.B., as guardian ad litem for her minor child, C.D., Plaintiff,
v.
VINELAND BOARD OF EDUCATION, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          ROBERT B. KUGLER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on the motion to dismiss of the Vineland Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. Mary Gruccio, Principal Tammy Monahan, and Assistant Principal Michael Sullivan (“Defendants”). (Doc. No. 25.) Defendants seek dismissal of Counts I, II, and III of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (Doc. No. 19 (“Am. Compl.”).) For the reasons below, Defendants' motion is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         This case is about improper sexual contacts between a teacher and his thirteen-year-old student, C.D. During the 2015-2016 school year, C.D., then thirteen and in the eighth grade, was enrolled in Rossi Intermediate School (the “School”), which is operated by the Vineland Board. (Am. Compl. at ¶¶ 15-17.) Based on the teacher's misconduct, Plaintiff A.B. brought this action on behalf of her minor daughter, CD., against the Vineland Board, Superintendent Gruccio, the School's Principal Monahan, and its Assistant Principal Sullivan. (Id. at ¶¶ 8-9.)

         A. C.D.'s Interactions with Her Teacher

         Richard Super, an adult man, used his status as one of C.D.'s teachers to induce CD. into an inappropriate relationship. (Id. at ¶¶ 21, 36.) During the 2015-2016 school year, Super used his school-issued email to transmit thousands of sexually explicit email messages to CD. (Id. at ¶ 22.)

         The relationship between Super and CD. was so conspicuous that other students were aware of it during the 2015-2016 school year and often made comments about it in the hallways, in class, and to CD. (Id. at ¶ 37.) One classmate, for instance, asked CD. about “the Super thing . . . if you don't wanna talk about it fine but is it getting better”? (Id. at ¶ 38.)

         Many of CD. and Super's conversations are unsettling. For example,

[Super]: No to what? I'm confused BabyMetal. And just the whole 7th period thing.
[CD.]: Oh I mean like people are just saying shit. And I need someone to talk to.
C: can I please listen to music
S: What are they saying now BabyMetal?
* * *
C: Hey daddy slipknot we have to talk about things.
S: What's up?
C: People are saying this about us daddy
C: They are a little bad but that's what they think of us I guess
S: Oh geeze like what?
C: People think I do anything forceful with u. And that I skip class to come see u alone in ur room. T sum it all up, people we're . . . ya know doing???? You deserve to know but that's what people keep saying I say to fuck off and leave out bc he's innocent or I say ur a bitch and that's completely nasty and will never happen, but I hope our relationship will end bc of this dad?!!!!!
C: I'm sorry dad, but u NEED to know

(Id. at ¶ 37.) Several exchanges were sexual. For example:

S: BTW my cheek was very heartbroken this week. I got him all excited and then he got shut down. (sad face)
C: Y was he all excited d
S: Cause someone was supposed to give him something and then it never matured. I had to let him down easy.
C: Aww ill kiss u on Monday for sure . . . can I get one (pause)?
S: It'll be when you least expect it (blushing face)
* * *
S: Thanks I try. I wrote BB under the SS on your paper. Know what that means? And wont say unless you guess right. (blushing face) (winky face)
C: I didn't knotice but I don't wanna guess bc ima get it rong so tell me d
S: just one guess please!! (praying hands). Two words that start with B and they have do with you.
C: Uhhhhhhh big baby, beautiful boy, big butt, big boobs, boring bitch, idk lol
S: Lol wow some of them work but you actually got half of it right.
C: uhhhh baby? Butt? Boobs? Beautiful? . . . what?
S: Two of them are correct just add a word to one of and bam it's it.
C: uhhhh boobs butt, beautiful baby, beautiful boobs, idk
S: Second one my B C: Awww daddy thank u . . ur so sweet!! That was in my very high ...

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