Nora Martinez, a veteran math teacher, sexted and fondled a 13-year-old female student who she called "an awesome girlfriend," but even though she is doing time for the offense, the parents can't sue the school district for not preventing the relationship, a court has ruled.
A federal court in San Antonio has ruled the parents can't sue Northside Independent School District because officials were unaware and could not have known about the relationship, according to Courthouse News Service. (Note: CNS cites a Monday ruling that is not available in the court records; we have a call in to the lead attorney to clear matters up.)
According to CNS, federal judge Xavier Rodriguez wrote:
This case is very tragic. An educator abused her position, befriended a vulnerable child, deferred acting until she gained the child's trust, and then took advantage of her. The law, however, only allows for recovery of damages from a school district if the school district had actual notice of the harassment and responded with deliberate indifference.
Martinez is serving two concurrent ten-year sentences after pleading guilty to online solicitation of a minor and indecency with a child by contact, according to the parents' complaint.
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The parents say they discovered suspicious text messages on their daughter's cell phone a little over a year ago that indicated an improper relationship.
The judge ruled that NISD had done what it can: "In this case there was no direct complaint made or brought to the district's attention, school officials were only aware of vague inappropriate acts done by Ms. Martinez, the school officials repeatedly warned her to act more professional and not to have students lingering at her desk."
It's possible the judge's ruling simply leaves the door open for the parents to refile another motion -- there's a whole lot of back-and-forth motioning on the docket -- so we'll see what the attorney says when/if we hear back.