- Associated Press - Thursday, September 17, 2015

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A lawsuit filed against a western Wyoming school district contends school officials and coaches failed to timely discipline “one of the better” student athletes who was harassing and bullying other teammates.

The lawsuit against Lincoln County School District 2 was filed last week in U.S. District Court.

It contends that the district was negligent by failing to protect its students and that an unnamed student who was a victim of the particular student athlete in the fall of 2012 had his civil rights violated because of the failure to act promptly. The names of the students were not included in the lawsuit because they are minors.

The lawsuit says coaches of the Star Valley High School football and track teams failed to immediately act against the inappropriate behavior of a student athlete even though they were aware of the behavior. The behavior included inappropriate sexual comments to other students, homophobic slurs directed at other students, unwelcome physical touching and exposing himself to other students, according to the lawsuit.

Coaches “looked the other way and permitted him to continue participating in athletics, in part because he was one of the better athletes in the athletic program in the LCSD schools,” it said.

It wasn’t until 2013 when the offending student was finally suspended because of the behavior, the lawsuit said.

As a result of their failure to act promptly, there were multiple victims, including the one cited in the lawsuit.

John Robinson, the attorney for the victim and his mother, said the behavior could not be considered normal locker room behavior. “I know if it was my kid I wouldn’t think it was acceptable locker room behavior at either end of it - my kid as the kid doing it or the kid getting assaulted,” Robinson said.

School Superintendent Alan Allred, who took over as superintendent this year, said he hasn’t seen the lawsuit and couldn’t comment. Allred also said the school district’s attorney is on vacation this week and unavailable.

The district lists student safety and respect among its “focus points” in Allred’s general message posted on the district’s website.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

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