TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A high school teacher has been accused of sexually harassing a former student and has been placed on administrative leave, officials said.
The News Tribune reports the district announced Eric Garrett’s leave on Wednesday, the same day hundreds of Steilacoom High School students staged a walkout to express concern over the math teacher’s alleged behavior.
“Law enforcement was notified of the allegations in the lawsuit,” according to a statement from the school district. “The District recognizes that the allegations in the lawsuit regard sensitive subjects and we are taking them very seriously."
District officials also did not respond to questions Wednesday about when law enforcement was notified of the allegations that Garrett slid his hand beneath a student’s skirt during the 2018-2019 school year and squeezed her thigh.
The former student, now 19, filed a lawsuit against Garrett and the school district in July.
The lawsuit argues that the school district should have reported the allegations to law enforcement because it is a mandatory reporter. Instead, the school district conducted an internal investigation and found that Garrett likely placed his hands on the girl’s thigh, according to the lawsuit.
The district said it didn't tell law enforcement about Garrett’s conduct because the touch was “in a non-sexual fashion,” according to court documents filed by the district last week.
Attempts to contact Garrett for comment were not immediately successful.