NISKAYUNA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A parent is bringing legal action against the Niskayuna Central School District, claiming their child was sexually assaulted in a Van Antwerp Middle School bathroom. A legal claim owes the alleged assault to “negligence, negligent security, negligent supervision, negligent placement, and negligent hiring by the district.”
Attorney Andrew Buzin, representing the parent, penned the March 25 notice of claim—a precursor to a lawsuit. It describes an alleged February 11 incident involving a student who was “assaulted, battered, sexually assaulted, bullied, falsely imprisoned, was restrained in freedom of movement, and otherwise tormented.” Buzin told NEWS10: “The perpetrator of the assault is known to the school community, and has engaged in this type of behavior towards boys and girls before.”
So far, Buzin has not received a response from the district. “The only thing that I got was confirmation that it was received by both the Board of Education and the superintendent, and that’s only through the post office,” he said.
This just weeks after a similar legal filing against the Queensbury Union Free School District alleged that school officials knew about disturbing behavior happening on a school bus, and chose not to take remedial action. Legal experts like Paul DerOhannesian, a criminal defense lawyer, point out that in these kinds of cases, it may take the complainant’s lawyer some time to get their hands on documentation or evidence in the district’s possession.
DerOhannesian advises parents whose kids are being bullied to: “Send a letter so they have a record, in their own files, that they notified the school of the problem. That way, you’re not waiting for the school to provide you with information that you may need down the road.”
Leslie Silva, a partner at law firm Tully Rinckey, says concerned parents should hold off on judgment until the case has been completely seen through. “Wait for counsel to do their due diligence,” she said. “Wait for a decision and a fact-finding.”
The district said it received the notice of claim on March 29 and told NEWS10 in a statement, “We’re committed to ensuring a safe and welcoming school environment for students. It’s our policy not to speak on pending litigation.”