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In re Doe

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

May 31, 2018

In re the matter of John Doe, by and through his parents, James Doe and Jane Doe, Plaintiffs,
v.
Saint Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts, Defendant.

          Margaret Kane for Plaintiffs.

          Christian Shafer for Defendant.

          ORDER

          FRANKLIN L. NOEL, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         THIS MATTER came before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge on Plaintiffs' motion for leave to amend the complaint (ECF No. 29). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs' motion for leave to amend the complaint (ECF No. 29) is GRANTED in part, and DENIED in part.

         I. STATEMENT OF FACTS

         1. Background

         In September of 2017, John Doe began attending Saint Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts (“SPCPA”) as a sophmore. ECF No. 1 ¶ 10; ECF No. 38, Ex. 14 ¶ 10. On October 9, 2017, John Doe was pulled out of class by the school's guidance counselor, Ilah Raleigh, and informed that female classmates had made allegations of harassment against him. Id. ¶ 12. Plaintiffs allege that John Doe denied the allegations. Id. ¶ 13. Plaintiffs James Doe and Jane Doe, John Doe's parents, were called and informed that John Doe was being suspended immediately for sexual harassment. Id. ¶ 15. They were also notified that John Doe had admitted to the allegations, and that there was an earlier incident that had not been reported or investigated by the school. Id. ¶¶ 15, 17. John Doe's parents asked that the matter remain private, and according to Plaintiffs, both Ms. Raleigh and SPCPA Director Ellen Delaney assured them that it would remain confidential and would not affect John Doe's college application. Id. ¶ 16. John Doe was suspended for three days. Id. ¶ 15.

         After his suspension, John Doe became the target of bullying. Id. ¶ 21. Students threatened John Doe on social media, and an Instragram account was created protesting John Doe's return to school. Id. John Doe was also ostracized at school, with students refusing to sit near him or work with him on projects. Id.

         On October 12, 2017, Plaintiffs received John Doe's Notice of Suspension, which stated that:

Three students have reported to Ms. Raleigh a pattern of harassment that [John Doe] engaged in including inappropriate touch: sitting too close, touching without permission, grabbing a student's leg by the crotch, licking a student's hand, grabbing a student from behind and groping. Each student has communicated verbally and non-verbally to [John Doe] that they want him to stop. In each case, he escalates his behaviors.

Id. ¶ 29.

         The parties, along with their attorneys, met on October 16, 2017, before John Doe's return to school. ECF No. 38, Ex. 14 ¶ 24. During the meeting, Plaintiffs were asked to sign a document which stated:“If [John Doe] were to violate these policies in the future, he would received the following discipline: 2nd offense, within one calendar year: Expulsion.” Id. Plaintiffs allege that they challenged the allegations and asked for all information related to the claims against John Doe. Id. SPCPA provided Plaintiffs with Ms. Raleigh's notes related to the incident, and John Doe was permitted to return to school. Id. ¶ 24, 26. An adult monitor was also put in place due to the social media threats. Id. ¶ 26.

         On October 25, 2017, a group of individuals protested John Doe's return to school. Id. ¶ 33. The protestors were featured on the evening news, and it was reported that more students had made allegations of sexual harassment against John Doe, and that SPCPA was working with law enforcement and the Minnesota Department of Education to address the issue. Id. ¶ 34. On October 26, 2017, John Doe stopped attending SPCPA, and started attending an online school before transferring to a public school. Id. ¶ 43.

         2. Sc ...


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