PCM, Superintendent face civil suit

A survey dated June 21 was sent out to Prairie City-Monroe School District parents, inquiring about what athletic teams their children have played on the last two years, and if the student has ever been subjected to or witnessed behavior that could be considered bullying, hazing and inappropriate sexual conduct or remarks.

The questionnaire is related to a civil lawsuit filed June 12 by the parents of an unidentified male middle-school-aged student against the PCM school district and superintendent Jane Babcock. The case alleges Babcock and school board member Mitchell Chipps were aware of the student being sexually harassed by a ninth-grade student.

The suit alleges the ninth-grade student made repeated requests of the plantiffs' son to expose his genitals during and after wrestling practices at PCM High School. The suit states the plantiff's son was eventually bullied into exposing himself in the PCM High School locker room.

The suit alleges the boy was also bullied on Facebook, prompting his mother to make a complaint to the district. She alleges she complained directly to Chipps, a member of the PCM School Board, from December 2011 to January 2012, who allegedly told her that the incident was not a big deal and suggested that she destroy the Facebook messages.

Babcock allegedly told the student’s mother to destroy the Facebook messages, as well. The plaintiffs are asking for a trial by jury for seven different counts, including failure to investigate the allegations of bullying and sexual harassment and aiding and abetting the sexual abuse of a minor.

The plaintiffs' son is no longer a PCM student.

The plaintiffs are represented by Roxanne Conlin, a Des Moines attorney. The suit states they are seeking monetary compensation for "injuries and damages," as well as punitive damages to "punish [the] defendants and deter them and others from engaging in illegal conduct."

Online court records indicate the school district was notified of the lawsuit June 24. In a written response to questions from the Daily News regarding the case, Babcock declined to comment.