Minor Student Sues Superintendent High School And District Over Alleged Bullying And Harassment

An unnamed minor student has filed a lawsuit against superintendent Marian Kim Phelps of Del Norte High School the Poway Unified School District and the district board in San Diego County Superior Court, alleging intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence in properly training district employees and a violation of her First Amendment rights. The lawsuit stems from allegations that Phelps bullied and harassed members of the school’s softball team.

Players coaches and parents allege that Phelps bullied and harassed softball team members during an after-season team banquet on May 30, 2023. Phelps players alleged was upset that her daughter who was named team MVP that evening did not receive applause from her teammates Phelps deemed adequate.

The perceived slight players alleged prompted Phelps to launch an investigation and threaten to bar seniors from participating in their graduation ceremonies. The lawsuit filed by the unnamed minor student is one of the factors that led to Phelps’ dismissal by the district board on Tuesday.

The board voted unanimously to fire Phelps during a closed-door meeting. In a statement read by President Michelle O’Connor-Ratcliff, the board said it “has lost all confidence and trust in Dr. Phelps’ ability to continue to serve as superintendent.”

The decision followed a board-launched investigation into Phelps’ actions that began on Nov. 15 and concluded on April 18. The investigation “brought to light previous unknown evidence with witnesses with direct first-hand knowledge that contradicted Dr. Phelps’ statements and assertions to the board district staff and the public,” according to the board’s statement.

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