FAMILY CLAIMS GOODYEAR TEACHER USED SCHOOL APP TO ‘GROOM’ STUDENT FOR SEX
Unbelievable, Good Policing Catches Sex Offenders and Others, Sex Offender and Others Apprehended, Shame on You, Worst of The Worst, Sex Offenders and Others In Positions of Trust
January 22, 2019
The parents of a West Valley teen claim Goodyear teacher Brittany Zamora used her school district's resources, including a school's chat app, to "groom" the student for a sexual relationship. The details are part of a civil lawsuit the family has filed against the Liberty Elementary School District and Zamora's husband, claiming they knew about the teacher's misconduct more than a month before parents discovered the abuse. The lawsuit also alleges that the district is liable because much of the sexual conduct happened during school hours or on school property.
Zamora was a sixth-grade teacher at Las Brisas Academy Elementary when the alleged misconduct occurred last year. She was arrested in March on suspicion of sexual misconduct with her 13-year-old student after parents found illicit texts between the two of them. Court records claim Zamora and the student had sex multiple times, including in the classroom and her car. The criminal case is still winding its way through court. Zamora surrendered her state teaching certificate last month. The family in its lawsuit, filed last week in Maricopa County Superior Court, seeks $2.5 million in damages.
The district and Zamora's lawyer did not immediately respond to The Arizona Republic's request for comment Monday. The lawsuit, similar to the notice of claim filed this summer, alleges that the district did not monitor an online instruction app called Class Craft, on which students and teachers can chat, and other social media platforms.
"Any other school, school district that’s using the application and misusing the application like Liberty School District has the possibility, the potential, for this kind of behavior to occur," Steve Weinberger, an attorney representing the family, said. "Anything can go on under their nose." By using Class Craft to contact the student, Zamora used school district resources to facilitate her sexual abuse of the student, the complaint alleges. It's unclear whether teachers in the district are still using Class Craft or what steps the district is taking to more closely monitor its use. No state law specifically requires public school officials to monitor communication in platforms such as Class Craft.
Online, the platform advertises itself as a way to foster a "positive school climate and educational outcomes by getting kids excited about school and improving engagement." The lawsuit also alleges that other teachers warned administrators of inappropriate behavior they observed by Zamora with the student as early as January 2018. But it wasn't until mid-March that the student's parents discovered inappropriate texts between their son and Zamora.
By then, Zamora and the student had already had sex multiple times, including on school grounds, according to the complaint. A month before, Las Brisas Principal Timothy Dickey heard from three students who said Zamora and the student were in a relationship, the lawsuit alleges. Dickey didn't tell the student's parents, but instead met with Zamora's students and "spoke about the dangers of rumors." After Dickey's lecture, Zamora apparently went into his office "frantic and crying," the lawsuit claims, and the principal believed her panic was because he talked to her students.
"In the end, (Dickey) wrote off these fruits of his investigation as nothing more than some misinterpreted student views of teacher-student favoritism and told her she can’t hang out with him (the student) anymore at recess and didn’t tell anybody else that this was going on," Weinberger said.