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Amber Hatcher v Desoto County School District

Amber Hatcher v Desoto County School District

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Published by Ryan Dixon
Amber Hatcher sued the Desoto County School District Board of Education and three school officials after they allegedly prevented her from organizing and participating in a National Day of Silence honoring the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students who face bullying and harassment.
Amber Hatcher sued the Desoto County School District Board of Education and three school officials after they allegedly prevented her from organizing and participating in a National Day of Silence honoring the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students who face bullying and harassment.

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Published by: Ryan Dixon on Apr 11, 2013
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11/12/2013

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTMIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDAFORT MYERS DIVISIONAMBER HATCHER, by and through hernext friend, GREGORY HATCHER,Plaintiff,vs.Case No. 2:13-cv-138-FtM-99DNFDESOTO COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARDOF EDUCATION and ADRIAN CLINE, asSuperintendent of DeSoto CountySchool District, SHANNON FUSCO, asDeSoto County High School Principal,and ERMATINE JONES, as DeSoto CountyHigh School Dean of Students, intheir personal and officialcapacities, and their successors inoffice,Defendants.____________________________________
OPINION AND ORDER 
This matter comes before the Court on Defendant ShannonFusco’s Dispositive Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #17), filed on March13, 2013, and Defendant Desoto County School Board’s DispositiveMotion to Dismiss (Doc. #25), filed on March 18, 2013. Plaintifffiled a Memorandum in Opposition (Docs. #44, 45) to each motion onMarch 29, 2013.
I.
Plaintiff Amber Hatcher (plaintiff or Hatcher) is a student atDesoto County High School who asserts that the Desoto County School
Case 2:13-cv-00138-UA-DNF Document 49 Filed 04/05/13 Page 1 of 15 PageID 430
 
Board (the School Board), the Principal at her high school(defendant Shannon Fusco), and other school officials have engagedand are engaging in conduct which violates her First Amendmentrights. In April, 2012 plaintiff sought to organize andparticipate in the National Day of Silence at her high school in aneffort to bring attention to the harms associated with bullying andharassment directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenderstudents. Plaintiff asserts that defendants interfered with herFirst Amendment right to do so, and have asserted again this yearthat plaintiff will not be allowed to participate as she proposes.The Complaint (Doc. #1) sets forth the following ten claims asthey relate to the two defendants involved in the pending motions.Count I alleges a claim for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 againstthe School Board and Fusco in her official capacity for violationof the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Count IIalleges a claim for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Fusco inher personal capacity for violation of the First Amendment. CountIII alleges a claim for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against theSchool Board and Fusco in her official capacity for retaliation inviolation of the First Amendment. Count IV alleges a claim fordamages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Fusco in her personalcapacity for retaliation in violation of the First Amendment.Count V alleges a claim for damages against the School Board forfailure to train in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and §
-2-
Case 2:13-cv-00138-UA-DNF Document 49 Filed 04/05/13 Page 2 of 15 PageID 431
 
1983. Count VI alleges a claim for damages against the SchoolBoard for failure to supervise in violation of the FourteenthAmendment and § 1983. Count VII alleges a claim for damages forfailure to supervise against Fusco in her personal capacity inviolation of the Fourteenth Amendment and § 1983. Count VIIIalleges a claim for damages against the School Board and Fusco inher official capacity for violation of equal protection under theFourteenth Amendment and § 1983. Count IX alleges a claim fordamages against Fusco in her personal capacity for violation ofequal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment and § 1983. CountX sets forth a claim for injunctive relief against “all defendants”for violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments and § 1983.Defendant Sharon Fusco (Fusco or Principal Fusco) seeksdismissal of the Complaint because (1) the allegations of theComplaint fail to state a cause of action upon which relief may begranted, (2) the official capacity claim against her is duplicitousof the claim against the Desoto County School District, (3) theindividual capacity claims against her are barred by qualifiedimmunity, and (4) the individual capacity claim against her forinjunctive relief is not available to plaintiff. The School Boardseeks dismissal of the Complaint because (1) the Complaint fails toallege a sufficient factual basis to show it was directlyresponsible for the alleged constitutional violations, (2) theComplaint fails to allege a basis to impute liability upon it due
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Case 2:13-cv-00138-UA-DNF Document 49 Filed 04/05/13 Page 3 of 15 PageID 432

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