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By Echo Menges
Knox County, MO – Monday, March 13, 2023 – A joint petition to the Knox County Court was filed on February 23, asking the court to approve the agreements mediated and made between one of the alleged victims of the alleged locker room assaults, which made national headlines in 2018, and the Knox County R-1 School District.
The case, No. 23KN-CC00012, is being heard by Knox County Associate Circuit Judge Tom Redington on Monday morning, April 3, in the courtroom at the Knox County Courthouse.
The petition and agreement, which is laid out in public court documents, will settle all claims a minor plaintiff has against the district for any alleged physical, mental, and emotional harm stemming from injuries alleged to have occurred during the 2018-2019 school year.
The plaintiff and the district have agreed to disagree on certain aspects of the claims.
The plaintiff maintains the district is responsible for their alleged injuries and resulting damages.
The district denies the allegations.
Both parties have agreed to settle.
The district, through their insurance company the Missouri United School Insurance Council (MUSIC) will pay the plaintiff $217,500, which includes $35,000 to the plaintiff’s attorney. MUSIC will also pay the fee of a mediator for their services in 2022, if the settlement is accepted and ordered by the Judge.
The plaintiff is being represented by Attorney April Wilson of Memphis, MO.
The district is being represented by the firm Tueth, Keeney, Cooper, Mohan, & Jackstadt, P.C. Attorney Mandi Moutray of St. Louis, MO.
The district has agreed to the following:
Pay the $182,500 to the plaintiff, and $35,000 to the plaintiff’s attorney.
Pay the mediation fees.
Upgrade district servers to allow for additional storage of footage from the district cameras.
Hire an outside individual or organization to individually provide training to staff and students on the topic of bullying and/or suicide prevention at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.
Provide anti-bullying and/or suicide prevention and/or similar training to students and staff on an annual basis.
Provide training on the reporting processes and procedures available to students and staff for actual and suspected incidents of bullying.
Engage in a conversation with the claimants regarding bullying prevention and other measures for future school years, including the possibility of an advisory council on best practices and/or a student mentor program.
Participate in good faith in the process of attempting to identify additional bullying prevention measures.
Provide updates to the claimants on the progress of the measures during the 2022-2023 school year.
The plaintiff has agreed to the following:
Settlement of any and all claims against the district former or current board members, directors, administrators, agents, employees, and other district representatives.
Assume all responsibility for attorney’s fees and taxes on the settlement payment.
Release the district and district representatives from any future claims or causes of action for claims that arise under Title IX of the Education Amendments, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1973, the Missouri Human Rights Act, the Missouri Constitution, Missouri Common Law Claims including intentional or negligence claims for emotional distress, discrimination, breach of duty, and any other violation of constitutional, federal, state, or local statutory common law for all time prior to the execution of the agreement.
Not to participate in any other case against the district, and in good faith attempt to have future or pending cases brought against the district dismissed.
Agrees to keep the terms of the agreement confidential, and only speak about it to immediate family, and paid representatives and advisors, with the understanding that those people cannot further disclose the terms and conditions by any means whatsoever including written, oral, and by statements made on social media.
Understands the agreement made with the district may be a public document under the (Missouri Sunshine Law) Chapter 610 of the Missouri Revised Statutes.
The settlement represents at least one year of mediation efforts to come to an agreement, which was signed by the petitioner on June 24, 2022, and representatives of the KCR-1 School Board on August 16, 2022.
The agreement will become binding between the two parties, if it is accepted and ordered by the court, and MUSIC will have 21 days to transfer the payments to the plaintiff, their attorney, and the mediator.
The court documents make clear that the plaintiff releases the district and its representatives, not the alleged perpetrators or their families, from all future claims the plaintiff may have.
It is unknown if other actions will be brought, or are pending, against the district by more alleged victims from the alleged locker room assaults during the 2018-2019 school year.