Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Teens to sue School Board in sex scandal
The action comes after the arrest of a Middleton High teacher.
By ABBIE VANSICKLE, Times Staff Writer
Published October 27, 2007
Thelma Reeves, left, speaks about her daughter, Shatavia Kendricks, center, and her ordeal reporting an alleged sexual abuse at Middleton High School, during a press conference with County Commissioner Kevin White. Kendricks, 15, is comforted by family friend Michelle Patty, right.
[Daniel Wallace | Times]
TAMPA -- Two students involved in the Middleton High School teacher sex scandal formally notified the Hillsborough School Board on Friday that they plan to sue.
"The school bears absolute responsibility," said attorney Darryl E. Rouson, who represents both students. "They had some notice. They had a responsibility to conduct an investigation. I really think they missed the ball, they dropped the ball. It's a horrendous message to suspend somebody for trying to tell the truth."
Rouson announced both his representation of the students and the lawsuit Friday, the day after 15-year-old Shatavia Kendricks came forward about her role in the scandal.
Just before 5 p.m., Rouson delivered a letter to the school district building in downtown Tampa, notifying the district of his clients' claims against the School Board.
Earlier this week, police arrested 33-year-old special education teacher Christina Butler, accusing her of having sex with one of her mentally disabled students, a 16-year-old boy.
She faces a felony charge of engaging in lewd or lascivious battery, jail records show.
Police say she told them that she and the teen had had sex up to a dozen times, including Monday at her bungalow on Tampa Street.
After the teacher's arrest, Shatavia came forward to say that she had learned of the relationship weeks before, and had told the school's assistant principal about it.
But the boy and the teacher denied the relationship, and Shatavia was suspended until she and a guardian could meet with the principal.
She returned to school Tuesday after that conference.
That same day, the 16-year-old boy was pulled over by Tampa police, who say he had no driver's license and was driving Butler's Jeep. Police talked with other teens in the Jeep and began to suspect a sexual relationship between the driver and the teacher.
The next day, the boy went to school and was told by the assistant principal to go home, according to Rouson's letter. The school did not contact the boy's mother about the sexual relationship, according to the document.
"They remain personally pained and insulted at the lack of communication or apology from the school officials," Rouson wrote of the boy's family.
School officials declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Rouson said the boy is "hurt and confused" about the situation. "He's not sure how to take all of this. To some extent he feels like he's more at fault. But ... it really is more fault on the part of an adult teacher who should have known better and who should never have allowed the line to blur into a realm that no teacher should ever go."
The boy's name is being withheld by the Times because of the nature of the case. He will seek counseling, Rouson said.
Shatavia's experience has been frustrating, he said.
"Her mother taught her to tell the truth and that telling about wrongdoing is not snitching," he said.
News researcher John Martin contributed to this report.