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Date: 05-16-2023

Case Style:

Mother Does v. Town of North Andover, et al.

Case Number: 1: 20-cv-10310

Judge: Indira Talwani

Court: United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Suffolk County)

Plaintiff's Attorney:

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Defendant's Attorney: John J. Davis, Adam Simms and Samuel R. Gates

Description: Boston, Massachusetts civil rights lawyer represented Plaintiff, who sued Defendants

Plaintiffs, proceeding as Jane Smith and Mother Doe, are respectively a former student at North Andover High School (“NAHS”) and the parent and natural guardian of another former NAHS student (referred to here as Jane Doe). They bring this action against Defendants Town of North Andover (“Town”), North Andover School District (“School District”) Assistant Superintendent Gregg Gilligan, NAHS Principal Chet Jackson, NAHS Assistant Principal Scott Young, and NAHS Assistant Principal Brooke Randall.[1] Plaintiffs assert violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as claims for breach of contract, denial of basic fairness, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Defendants move for summary judgment of Smith's claims, and partial summary judgment of Doe's claims. See Defs' Mot. [Doc. No. 54].

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The following facts are drawn from the summary judgment record and are construed in the light most favorable to Plaintiffs.

NAHS is a public high school in the School District located in North Andover, Massachusetts. See Defs' Ex. R (NAHS Handbook) [Doc. No. 55-19].

A. Events During the 2016-2017 School Year

Jane Doe (“Doe”) began attending NAHS as a freshman in Fall 2016. Pls' Stmt. of Material Facts in Dispute (“Pls' Stmt”) ¶ 7 (undisputed) [Doc. No. 64]. In April 2017, Doe was sexually assaulted off campus by NAHS student Eli Tuttle, then a sophomore. Doe Dep. Tr. 79:11-21 [Doc. No. 63-3]; Answer ¶ 60 [Doc. No. 31]. According to Doe, Tuttle pinned Doe to the ground and digitally penetrated Doe without her consent. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 64-65 [Doc. No. 30]. Doe told Mother Doe about the assault soon after it occurred but did not want to report it and Mother Doe acceded to her request. Mother Doe Dep. Tr 108:21-109:14 [Doc. No. 63-4].

In May 2017, Doe's guidance counselor Kaitlin Rogato reported to Doe's mother that Doe had written an essay entitled “This I Believe” that discussed Doe being the victim of sexual assault. Id. at 109:15-110:21; Pls' Ex. Y (Doe Essay) [Doc. No. 63-27]. Doe's mother then informed the guidance counselor of the April assault. Mother Doe Tr. 110:7-21 [Doc. No. 63-4]. Although guidance counselors are mandatory reporters, see Defs' Ex. B (Defs' Answer to Interrogatories) (listing mandatory reporting trainings) [Doc. No. 55-2]; Defs' Ex. D (DCF Report listing Polanco as a mandatory reporter) [Doc. No. 55-5], it is unclear from the record if the guidance counselor or any other school official took any action, Mother Doe Dep. Tr. 111:2-18 [Doc. No. 63-4].

B. Events During the 2017-2018 School Year

On or about October 18, 2017, when Doe was a sophomore and Tuttle was a junior, Tuttle sexually assaulted Doe for the second time by pinning her to the ground and raping her. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 93-97 [Doc. No. 30]; see Pls' Ex. M (October 19, 2017 Police Report) [Doc. No. 53-15]. Like the assault during her freshman year, the October assault took place off-campus and after school hours. Pls' Ex. M (October 19, 2017 Police Report) [Doc. No. 53-15]. On October 19, 2017, Doe reported the second assault to high school adjustment counselor Alison Polanco,[2]who then contacted guidance counselor Rogato. Polanco Dep. Tr 33:9-35:15 [Doc. No. 63-10]. Polanco and Rogato filed a report with the Department of Children and Families, and Rogato contacted the North Andover Police Department, and an officer took a report of both assaults. Id. at 35:19-36:17. During the investigation, Tuttle admitted to having sexual intercourse with Doe, claiming that Doe “‘kind of made me put it in.'” Pls' Ex. M, 7 (October 20, 2017 Police Report) [Doc. No. 63-15] (quoting Tuttle's statement to police).

On November 20, 2017, Tuttle's mother complained to the North Andover Police Department that she believed Doe had engaged in bullying by making a false accusation of sexual assault, spreading rumors and generally engaging in a campaign to social exclude Tuttle by making these false statements. Id. at 9. Tuttle's parents again contacted the North Andover Police Department on December 16, 2017, complaining that Doe was bullying Tuttle by telling people that Tuttle had raped her and by attending NAHS wrestling matches. Id. at 11. A few days later on December 18, 2017, an officer from the North Andover Police Department met with Doe and Guidance Counselor Rogato and told Doe “about the importance of not putting herself in the position to be around [Tuttle] or his parents.” Id.

Shortly thereafter, Doe's mother complained to NAHS officials that her daughter was being told to refrain from attending school activities where Tuttle was present and asked NAHS officials for an investigation into the assault and events thereafter. Pls' Ex. FF, 3 [Doc. No. 6334]; Young Dep. Tr. 47:19-48:6 [Doc. No. 63-13]. The North Andover Police Department officer subsequently spoke with Doe's mother about the previous conversation with Doe, and again encouraged Doe to avoid situations, including school events, where Tuttle would be present. Pls' Ex. M, 11 (October 20, 2017 Police Report) [Doc. No. 63-15]. NAHS officials did not take any steps to initiate a Title IX investigation into Doe's alleged assault at that time. Randall stated that she did not believe she had any obligations to investigate because the assault did not occur on school grounds and the police were conducting an investigation. Randall Dep. Tr. 32:2-24 [Doc. No. 63-11]. Young testified that he initially thought that the school was only meant to refer students to the police. Young Dep. Tr. 48:17-49:5 [Doc. No. 63-13].

On February 2, 2018, a second NAHS student reported a January 6, 2018 off-campus assault by Tuttle. Pls' Ex. X (Sankey Report) [Doc. No. 63-26].[3] NAHS administrations reported the allegations to the North Andover Police Department and the Department of Children and Families. Id.

Also in early February 2018, Doe's mother emailed NAHS administrators asking again about a Title IX investigation. Randall Dep. Tr. 83:3-21 [Doc. No. 63-11]. NAHS officials then began to inquire as to whether they should have investigated Doe's report of sexual assault. Id. The District's Title IX Coordinator informed Young that he did in fact need to investigate, and that they “should have started investigations earlier.” Young Dep. Tr. 48:7-49:22 [Doc. No. 63-13]. On or about February 7, 2018, Young asked Doe's mother for her permission to begin the investigation. Am. Compl. ¶ 142 [Doc. No. 30]; see Randall Dep. Tr. 82:13-83:2 [Doc. No. 63-11].[4] Also in February 2018, NAHS conducted a Title IX investigation concerning the report by the second NAHS student. Pls' Ex. X, 2-3 (Sankey Report) [Doc. No. 63-26].

Young and Randall led the investigation as to Doe's assault, and Jackson was not involved. Young Dep. Tr. 90:11-16, 94:19-25. Prior to this investigation, neither Randall nor Young had conducted a Title IX investigation at NAHS. Id. at 124:19-23; Randall Dep. Tr. 115:24-116:18 [Doc. No. 63-11]. The record does not reflect who conducted the investigation as to the alleged assault of the unnamed student.

Randall interviewed Tuttle on February 13, 2018, about both Doe's Title IX complaint and Tuttle's bullying complaints, with Tuttle's mother and Young present. Pls' Ex. BB [Doc. No. 63-30].
Young also interviewed one other person named “Dan.” Young Dep. Tr. 163:19-22 [Doc. No. 63-13]. The investigation concerning the complaint by the second student concluded that the alleged assault could not be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, and on February 15, 2018, both Tuttle and that student signed Safety Plans requiring them to refrain from any avoidable contact or communication with each other. Pls' Ex. X, 3 (Sankey Report) [Doc. No. 63-26].

On or about March 2018, Doe transferred out of NAHS and began attending SEEM Collaborative, an education program in Stoneham, Massachusetts. Pls' Stmt. ¶ 7 (undisputed) [Doc. No. 64].

Jane Smith was a junior during this school year. Id. at ¶ 3 (Smith began attending NAHS as a freshman in the Fall 2015). On April 2, 2018, Smith was sexually assaulted by Tuttle off campus and after hours. Pls' Ex. N (April 3, 2018 Police Report) [Doc. No. 63-16]. That evening, Smith emailed NAHS counselor Polanco asking for a meeting. Defs' Ex. C (April 2, 2018 Email) [Doc. No. 55-4]. On April 3, 2018, Smith met with Polanco and Sarah Hickey and told them about the assault. Polanco Dep. Tr. 52:23-54:11 [Doc. No. 63-10]. Polanco then submitted a mandatory report to the Department of Children and Families. Defs' Ex. D (DCF Report) [Doc. No. 55-5].

Polanco and Hickey contacted the school resource officer, North Andover Police Department Officer William Enright, who told them to contact the sexual assault officer. Polanco Dep. Tr. 56:9-19; 57:13-23 [Doc. No. 63-10]. Polanco informed Randall about Smith's allegations of assault. Id. at 58:14-19; Randall Dep. 141:6-142:3 [Doc. No. 55-21]. Smith told Randall that she had been assaulted, but that she did not go into detail. Smith Dep. Tr. 89:1-14 [Doc. No. 55-20].

After meeting with Smith, Randall called Smith's grandmother and asked her to come to the school, and also contacted the North Andover Police Department. Randall Dep. Tr. 150:6151:15, 152:2-24 [Doc. No. 55-21]. Smith, Smith's grandmother, Randall, Polanco, and several North Andover Police Department detectives then met at the school to make a formal complaint. Grandmother Smith Dep. Tr. 40:22-41:10 [Doc. No. 63-6]. Tuttle was arrested that night for Indecent Assault and Battery of a minor over age 14. Defs' Ex. E. (April 3, 2018 Police Report) [Doc. No. 55-6]. NAHS Principal Jackson was never informed by either the District Attorney or the police that Tuttle had been charged with a felony, and Jackson believed he could not expel or initiate a long-term suspension on a student unless Tuttle was charged with a felony. Defs' Ex. Y (Jackson Aff.) ¶¶ 4-5 [Doc. No. 55-26]. Soon after Smith made her complaint, Tuttle was removed from the two classes he shared with Smith. Smith Dep. Tr. 128:20-129:4 [Doc. No. 55-20]; Randall Dep. Tr. 177:13-24 [Doc. No. 55-21].

In an April 3, 2018 interview, Randall asked Doe (who was no longer a student at NAHS) about “[Doe's] side of the story.” Randall Dep. Tr. 130:2-132:2 [Doc. No. 63-11]. Doe was not told about Tuttle's bullying complaint nor asked about it. Young Dep. Tr. 109:15-23 [Doc. No. 63-13].

On April 4, 2018, Randall, with assistance from the School District's outside counsel, began a Title IX investigation into Tuttle's assault of Smith. Randall Dep. Tr. 159:20-160:16, 161:4-7 [Doc. No. 55-21]. As part of the investigation, Randall set up a meeting with Tuttle and his mother for April 4, 2018. Id. at 161:12-162:25, 164:18-23 (identifying the planned date for the interview). However, on advice of his counsel, Tuttle did not answer any questions and was not interviewed. Id. at 163:17-164:3. Randall did not schedule any additional meetings with Tuttle. Id. at 166:11-25 [Doc. No. 63-11]. On April 11, 2018, Randall met with Smith to askfollow-questions from the initial meeting on April 3, 2018. Id. at 170:2-17 [Doc. No. 55-21]. Randall did not write down questions in advance of the meeting. Id. at 171:4-22. At that meeting, Randall asked Smith if she had any further contact with Tuttle since the initial report, and if any harassing behavior or communications occurred. Id. at 173:17-174:5. Smith reported she had “crossed paths” with Tuttle, but they did not have any direct contact other than Tuttle looking at her. Id. at 174:6-15. At one meeting, where Smith and Randall were discussing alternative schooling for Tuttle, Office Enright asserted Tuttle's right to an education too. See Smith Dep. Tr. 101:13-23 [Doc. No. 63-5].

On April 13, 2018, NAHS officials Young and Randall notified Doe's parents of the result of the Title IX investigation and the bullying investigation, which were conducted concurrently. Young Dep. Tr. 128:5-14 [Doc. No. 63-13]; Pls' Ex. P (Doe Title IX Outcome Letter) [Doc. No. 63-18]; Pls' Ex. Q (Doe Bullying Outcome Letter) [Doc. No. 63-19]. The Title IX Outcome letter stated that the investigation was “initially delayed pending completion of the initial criminal investigation,” Pls' Ex. P (Doe Title IX Outcome Letter) [Doc. No. 63-18], but did not state when that criminal investigation was concluded. The Title IX investigation found that Tuttle had reported that the sexual activity was consensual, while Doe had reported that it was a criminal assault, and that NAHS was notified that no criminal charges had been brought against Tuttle. Id. at 4. The report noted further that the investigation had “revealed no subsequent instances of inappropriate comments, physical acts or gestures directed at [Doe],” and that “NAHS has been unable to substantiate, by a preponderance of evidence, that [Tuttle] engaged in sexual harassment of [Doe] in violation of Title IX, M.G.L. c. 76, § 51 and/or the policies of the North Andover Public Schools.” Id. The investigation found that while NAHS was unable to support a determination of sexual harassment or assault, the allegations and
investigation “resulted in an environment for both [Doe] and [Tuttle] that is not ideal for learning,” and listed various supports that NAHS planned to put in place. Id. at 4-5.

Regarding Tuttle's bullying complaint against Doe, NAHS found that “the collective incidents investigated do not meet the definition of bullying.. .[and] the investigation of [Tuttle's] allegations failed to produce a preponderance of evidence to establish that [Doe] repeatedly directed written, verbal or electronic expressions or physical acts or gestures at [Tuttle]” that would constitute bullying under Massachusetts law and District Policy. Pls' Ex. Q (Doe Bullying Outcome Letter) [Doc. No. 63-19]. Notably, the letter stated that Doe's social media statements, if repeated, could support a finding of bullying. Id

As to Smith, Randall notified Smith's grandmother of the Title IX investigation outcome, also on April 13, 2018. Pls' Ex. R (Smith Title IX Outcome Letter) [Doc. No. 63-20]. The investigation found that “there is not a preponderance of evidence to contradict [Smith]'s claims of inappropriate sexual conduct by [Tuttle].however, there is also no evidence to support that [Tuttle] engaged in inappropriate communications or conduct toward [Smith] either prior or subsequent to that reported incident.” Id. at 2. The investigation found that NAHS was unable to support a determination of sexual harassment or assault. However, the letter listed four actions the school would take “to help ensure a non-hostile environment,” including the Safety Plan described below. Id. The letter stated the policy on retaliation, and asked Smith and her grandmother to report any such retaliatory action immediately. Id.

On April 13, 2018, Smith and Tuttle entered into “School Safety Plans.” Defs' Ex. F (Tuttle Safety Plan) [Doc. No. 55-7]; Ex. G (Smith Safety Plan) [Doc. No. 55-8]. Smith's plan required her to “refrain from any avoidable contact or communication” with Tuttle, “travel her normal pattern in order to attend any classes,” and report any contact to the school. Defs' Ex. G (Smith Safety Plan) [Doc. No. 55-8]. Smith felt that she did not have a choice but to sign it and signed the plan without her guardian present. Smith Dep. Tr. 126:14-21 [Doc. No. 55-20]. Tuttle's safety plan [Doc. No. 55-7] contains the same language. The safety plans had been used at NAHS before, and no changes were made to the templates other than adding the students' names. Randall Dep. Tr. 200:5-201:3 [Doc. No. 55-21].

On May 1, 2018, Smith obtained a Harassment Prevention Order against Tuttle. Defs' Ex. K [Doc. No. 55-12].

Although Smith, Randall, and Polanco testified that the purpose of the safety plan was to keep Smith and Tuttle apart, see Randall Dep. Tr. 202:5-23 [Doc. No. 55-21]; Polanco Dep. Tr. 79:17-20 [Doc. No. 55-22]; Smith Dep. Tr. 102:11-20 [Doc. No. 55-20], Smith stated that several incidents occurred after the safety plans were in effect, and she was reprimanded at least once for making a complaint, Smith Dep. Tr. 141:1-14 [Doc. No. 63-5]. On one occasion, Tuttle and two girls stared and talked about Smith, who then reported it to Randall, but “nothing was ever done about it.” Id. at 141:15-142:24. During the 2017 and 2018 school year, Randall received eight to ten reports regarding interactions between Smith and Tuttle. Randall Dep. Tr. 211:5-15 [Doc. No. 63-11]. These included: an incident on April 24, 2018, where Tuttle and Smith made eye contact while talking into school, id. at 211:16-212:10, 212:21-213:3 [Doc. No. 63-11]; an interaction where Tuttle saw Smith by the gym steps during passing time, where Randall concluded there was no violation, Id. at 217:9-24; an interaction between Smith and Tuttle on June 8, 2018, in the lunchroom outside the cafeteria, Id. at 224:23-225:9; and an interaction on June 21, 2018, where Tuttle was talking about his court case; Id. at 232:18-233:16. Randall testified that she received no reports of direct contact between Tuttle and Smith between April 2018 and June 2018. Id. at 233:17-25. Smith also sent two emails to Randall regarding
incidents on June 1, 2018, where Tuttle gave Smith a “very intimidating look” at school, see Pls's Ex. S [Doc. No. 63-21], and June 11, 2018, where Tuttle was in Smith's classroom in violation of the restraining order, see Pls' Ex. T [Doc. No. 63-22]; Defs' Ex. L (June 12, 2018 Police Report) [Doc. No. 55-13]. Officer Enright and Randall investigated that incident. Id. Hickey and Polanco continued to check in with Smith for the remainder of the school year. Smith Dep. Tr. 132:3-8 [Doc. No. 55-20].

C. Events During the 2018-2019 School Year

At the beginning of the 2018 school year, Randall discussed the Safety Plan with Smith and Tuttle. Randall Dep. Tr. 234:11-235:24 [Doc. No. 55-21]. Because the Safety Plan required Smith and Tuttle to stay apart but they were assigned the same lunch period, Smith often ate lunch in a different room. Id. at 238:23-239:14; Smith Dep. Tr. 110:17-111:14 [Doc. No. 63-5]. Although Smith brought this issue to Randall's attention, no changes to the schedules were made. Randall Dep. Tr. 239:8-14 [Doc. No. 55-21]. Despite the ongoing[5] criminal case, Randall told Smith that Randall could not remove Tuttle from the school because there was no criminal prosecution. Pls' Stmt. ¶ 38 (undisputed) [Doc. No. 64]. On or about September 17, 2018, Tuttle reported to Randall that Smith was in his class in violation of the safety plan, and Randall gave Smith a warning. Randall Dep. Tr. 242:20-243:16 [Doc. No. 63-11]. On or about November 2, 2018, Tuttle reported to Randall that Smith was at the steps between the cafeteria and the gym.

Id. at 244:9-246:10. However, upon investigation, Randall found no violation and Smith was not disciplined. Id.

In December 2018, Smith transferred to the NAHS evening school, Scarlet Knight Academy (“SKA”). Pls' Stmt. ¶ 40 [Doc. No. 64]. Upon enrollment, Smith entered into a Safety Plan for her attendance at SKA. Pls' Ex. U (SKA Safety Plan) [Doc. No. 63-23]. The plan restricted travel on Main Street of NAHS and in the gymnasium area. Id. At one point while attending SKA, Hickey encouraged Smith to avoid basketball games at the school to avoid Tuttle, even though he was only on the wrestling team, not the basketball team. Smith Dep. Tr. 108:4-109:15 [Doc. No. 63-5]. In addition, Officer Enright would follow Smith as she traveled around SKA. Id. at 117:17-118:14. At one point, Smith violated the Safety Plan and was denied the right to an “open campus” for one week. Pls' Stmt. ¶ 44 (undisputed) [Doc. No. 64].

On December 10, 2018, the Essex County District Attorney's Office informed Smith's grandmother that after a hearing on November 26, 2018, the criminal charges against Tuttle were Continued Without A Finding until Tuttle turned 19, and that he was placed on probation with conditions. Defs' Ex. M [Doc. No. 55-14].

On March 12, 2019, after new felony charges were brought against Tuttle by the State of New Hampshire, NAHS formally placed Tuttle on a long-term suspension. See Defs' Ex. N [Doc. No. 55-15]. On March 19, 2019, Smith's attorney emailed Jackson requesting NAHS rescind Smith's safety plan, as Tuttle was no longer attending the school. Pls' Ex. V [Doc. No. 63-24]. Smith's SKA Safety Plan ended shortly thereafter, Gilligan Dep. Tr. 115:1-10 [Doc. No. 63-7], but Smith was not immediately told that the Safety Plan was no longer in effect, Smith Dep. Tr. 125:8-22 [Doc. No. 63-5]. Smith graduated from SKA in June 2019. Grandmother Smith Dep. Tr. 86:14-16 [Doc. No. 55-25].

D. Defendants' Sexual Misconduct and Training Policies

During the period relevant to this matter, the School District received federal funding from the Department of Education, and accordingly, the School District and its component schools were subject to Title IX regulations. See Pls' Ex. Z (Policies) [Doc. No. 63-28]. The Assistant Superintendent was the appointed coordinator of the implementation and evaluation of Title IX activities. Id.

The North Andover Public Schools maintain a variety of policies that cover nondiscrimination, non-discrimination on the basis of sex, and sexual harassment. Id.

Under the sexual harassment policies, adopted by the School Committee on September 27, 1994, and revised in 1996, the principal of each school is designated as the Sexual Harassment Officer, and a person of the opposite sex is designated at the Assistant Sexual Harassment Officer. Id. at 7. During the relevant time period, Jackson was the Principal of NAHS. Jackson Dep. Tr. 12:15-13:6 (stating that the 2017-2018 school year was Jackson's first year as principal) [Doc. No. 63-8]. At the time of Doe and Smith's complaints of sexual assault, there was no named assistant sexual harassment officer at NAHS. Young Dep. Tr. 98:22-99:10 [Doc. No. 63-13].

The nondiscrimination on the basis of sex policy, revised October 18, 2012, states, in relevant part, that “[t]he School Committee, in accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, declares that the school system does not and will not discriminate on the basis of sex in the educational programs and activities of the public schools.” See Pls' Ex. Z, 4 (Policies) [Doc. No. 63-28]. The nondiscrimination policy, as approved by the School Committee on April 25, 2000, states that:

Any student or school employee who feels that he or she has been discriminated against for any of the reasons cited above should utilize the following procedure to register a grievance:

1. Students or employees should submit any allegations of discrimination in writing to their building principal for consideration.

2. The principal will investigate the allegations and respond to the complainant through personal interview and in writing within ten (10) school days of receipt of the written complaint.

3. If the matter is not resolved, the complainant may appeal in writing to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will meet with the complainant and respond in writing within ten (10) school days of receipt of the written complaint.

4. If, at the end of [] ten (10) school days following the written response from the Title IX Coordinator the matter remains unresolved, the complainant has the right to appeal to the Superintendent. All allegations of discrimination are to be communicated to the Superintendent in writing.

5. The Superintendent shall investigate the complaint and respond in writing to the complainant no longer than ten (10) school days after having received the complaint.

6. If the matter remains unresolved the complainant may appeal in writing to the School Committee within ten (10) school days of receipt of the Superintendent's response. The School Committee will meet within fifteen (15) school days to review and consider the matter. The Committee will respond to the complainant in writing within five (5) school days following that meeting.

7. If the matter still remains unresolved for the complainant, he or she has the right to invoke the complaint procedure for Chapter 622 of the Acts of 1971 and/or Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments.

Since it is important that grievances be processed as rapidly as possible, the number of days indicated at each level should be considered as maximum, and every effort should be made to expedite the process.

Id. at 3. Those policies were included in the 2018-2019 North Andover Public Schools Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook (the “Student Rights Handbook”),[6] see Pls' Ex. L [Doc. No. 63-14], and referenced in the NAHS Handbook, see Defs' Ex. R [Doc. No. 55-19].

The School District hosted summer retreats for its administrators that included trainings primarily focused on harassment and bullying. Young Dep. Tr. 50:22-51:12 [Doc. No. 63-13]. Young stated that “it wasn't until after this case that the trainings became very Title IX-specific.” Id. at 51:6-8. A “North Andover Public Schools 2016-2017 Annual Back to School Required Staff Training” included a draft PowerPoint with information on sex discrimination and sexual harassment but did not go into Title IX procedures. See Pls' Ex. EE [Doc. No. 63-33]. The annual back to school trainings attended by school staff were prepared by the School District. Jackson Dep. Tr. 28:2-14 [Doc. No. 63-8]. The summer 2017 retreat contained no Title IX discussions, and there was no other training related to Title IX prior to October 2017. Young Dep. Tr. 54:7-19, 63:3-7 [Doc. No. 63-13]. Between 2016 and 2020, Defendants held several trainings related to bullying, discipline, and harassment; however, only one training specifically mentions Title IX in the title. Defs' Ans. to Interrogatories Nos. 10-15 [Doc. No. 55-2].

Gilligan, in his role as Assistant Superintendent, was responsible for training the other Individual Defendants. Gilligan Dep. Tr. 16:4-19 [Doc. No. 63-7]. Prior to October 2017, Gilligan received training on Title IX in August 2016. Id. at 42:2-10. Gilligan testified that directors, assistant superintendents, principals, vice principals, and potentially some others received training on how to conduct a Title IX investigation. Id. at 42:11-23.

Prior to becoming Principal, Jackson received training on Title IX in 2008, and yearly trainings on the laws of harassment and bullying thereafter. Jackson Dep. Tr. 26:13-27:15 [Doc. No. 55-24]. Jackson never facilitated nor prepared a training on Title IX. Id. at 27:16-21.

Prior to fall 2017, Randall had never been to any Title IX-specific training. Randall Dep. Tr. 40:14-23 [Doc. No. 63-11]. Apart from a summer 2016 training with unknown contents, Randall had not participated in other training that included Title IX prior to fall 2017. Id. at 42:10-15.[7]


Prior to October 2017, Young had not received any training related to Title IX or specific training on how to investigate complaints of sexual assault. Young Dep. Tr. 54:10-19, 63:3-7 [Doc. No. 63-13].
Doe v. Town of N. Andover (D. Mass. 2023)

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Outcome: For the foregoing reasons, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 54] on Smith's claims in Counts I and II is DENIED (except as to her claim for emotional distress damages) and on both Plaintiffs' claims in Counts III through VIII is GRANTED.


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