Student Proceeds with Legal Suit over 'Slapping' Episode
• Complaint Filed in LA Superior Court
BY BILL KOENEKER
Dionne Evans, a 15-year-old ninth grader who alleges she was slapped by a teacher in front of her classmates when she was a student at Malibu High School, has filed a lawsuit against the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
Evans had previously filed a $1 million claim in damages with the school district that was turned down by school officials.
Beverly Hills attorney Donald Karpel indicated he filed the legal complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Sept. 17.
The complaint for damages includes battery, assault, negligence, negligent supervision, violation of civil rights, public discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, defamation, libel and slander, and corporal punishment.
The lawsuit names as defendants: SMMUSD, Malibu High School, the teacher Jennifer Gonzalez, and the former MHS principal Mark Kelly.
Evans is described as the only African-American student then in her grade at Malibu High.
The complaint alleges Gonzalez has a history of violent attacks on students and cites the alleged history.
Evans said she first told a school bus driver what happened because she did not know what to do. The bus driver called Evans' mother to inform her of the matter.
The mother contacted Kelly and set an appointment to meet with him. The document goes on to describe several meetings, including one with Gonzalez, who apparently apologized and also sent a note saying so to the family.
The complaint alleges Evans was sent off to the library and kept out of Gonzalez's class, but remained traumatized because of the incident and because Gonzalez was allegedly not reprimanded or disciplined after the slapping incident.
The lawsuit seeks damages for medical treatment past and future and for psychotherapy, general damages for physical and mental pain and suffering and emotional distress in a sum to be proven at the time of trial, injunctive relief, for punitive and exemplary damages, and attorney fees.