United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Steven
Holmes's motion to dismiss. Dkt. 8. The Court has
considered the pleadings filed in support of and in
opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and
hereby grants the motion for the reasons stated herein.
December 12, 2017, Plaintiffs T.D.F. and Brittney Menefee
filed their complaint in this action. Dkt. 1. Plaintiffs have
asserted claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Defendants Tacoma Public School District No. 10, Sandra
Holmes, and Steven Holmes arising from an alleged sexual
assault on T.D.F. by one of her kindergarten classmates.
Id. Plaintiffs have also asserted claims against the
school district under Title IX. Id.
January 17, 2018, Steven Holmes moved to dismiss the
complaint to the extent it asserted claims against him under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Dkt. 8. On February 5, 2018,
Plaintiffs responded. Dkt. 12. On February 9, 2018, Steven
Holmes replied. Dkt. 13.
2013, Defendant Sandra Holmes was a kindergarten teacher in
Tacoma, Washington, and Steven Holmes (unrelated to Sandra
Holmes) was the school's principal. Dkt. 1 at 4. From
September of 2013 until December 4, 2013, Defendant Sandra
Holmes took a medical leave, during which her kindergarten
class was taught by a substitute teacher, Megan Clark
(“Clark”). Id. On December 4, 2013, a
meeting was held wherein Steven Holmes and Sandra Holmes met
with T.D.F.'s parents, who expressed concern that Sandra
Holmes was known as being “the worst [teacher] in the
school, ” and that “a survey of other
parents” proved it. Id. At the meeting,
T.D.F.'s mother requested a different teacher.
the transition from Clark to Sandra Holmes, Clark alerted
Sandra Holmes to a danger posed by one of the male students
in the classroom. Id. The male student had
reportedly engaged in dangerous behaviors, including sexually
inappropriate touching of a female student. Id. As a
result, Clark had implemented procedures to prevent
potentially dangerous and sexually inappropriate behaviors,
such as structured bathroom rules that allowed only one
student to use the restroom at a time in order. Id.
After the transition, Sandra Holmes did not enforce the rules
established by Megan Clark regarding bathroom use.
Id. at 5.
December of 2013, after the transition, Sandra Holmes
informed the school counselor that the aforementioned male
student had “a touching problem” and that he had
“been touching kids in [her] class.” Id.
at 4. She stated that the counselor needed to “get him
help.” Id. However, Sandra Holmes did not
report the behavior of the male student to law enforcement or
the Child Protective Services (“CPS”) agency
within Washington's Department of Social and Health
Services (“DSHS”). Id. at 5.
two months of the transition back to Sandra Holmes's
teaching, Steven Holmes received approximately sixty
complaints regarding Sandra Holmes. Id. at 4.
Despite these complaints, Steven Holmes did not reprimand
Sandra Holmes, replace her, or provide additional oversight
of her teaching until January 16, 2014. Id.
January 16, 2014, Steven Holmes issued a “letter of
direction” to Sandra Holmes for unprofessional conduct,
1. Releasing students to other adults not on the contact list
2. Having an (unknown) parent watch the class while Defendant
Sandra Holmes exited her classroom to go to the staffroom;
3. Grabbing a student by the shirt and others by the arm to
4. Not knowing the first and last names of her students by
the sixth week;
5. Leaving a child in a timeout for 1.5 hours; and 6.
Allowing kindergarten students to answer the ...