Boulder Valley School District agrees to pay $1.2 million to settle lawsuit over sexual assault allegations

Courtesy Cliff Grassmick/Boulder Camera
Fairview High School students, Mia Grayson, left, Emily Hao, and Hannah Wang, hold signs during a demonstration and walkout on April 9, 2021, in support of all sexual assault survivors, but mainly in support of the BVSD sexual assault and sexual harassment survivors.

Updated Nov. 3, 2022, at 11:58 a.m.

The Boulder Valley School District will pay $1.2 million as part of a settlement deal with two former students in a federal civil rights lawsuit that alleged the district and a former school principal failed to respond when the women brought sexual assault complaints to school administrators.

Two former students sued the district last year alleging the district knew about and failed to investigate claims that a popular student athlete at Fairview High school raped at least two other students but didn’t investigate. It also claims the district didn’t protect the students from being the subject of bullying and harassment at school.

The suit alleged that Fairview High had a sexually hostile environment and an extensive history  of failing to adequately train students, teachers and administrators on sexual assault or the federal law that is supposed to investigate sexual misconduct allegations. 

The students brought the lawsuit against the district under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in public schools. 

The former lacrosse player at the center of the federal lawsuit was sentenced in February to 90 days in jail for sexually assaulting three women.

In an emailed statement, the school district said it signed the settlement agreement on Monday. 

“While we will not comment on the case itself, the Boulder Valley School District is committed to protecting students and will not tolerate sexual discrimination, harassment or violence in our schools or school communities,” the statement said.

The district has also agreed to provide training and information to all high school students on consent, sexual assault, sexual harassment and Title IX remedies.

As part of the settlement, in addition to the payment, the district is required to make sure all staff completes Title IX training, share updates on Title IX rights monthly for the rest of the school year in the district publication and provide all high school teachers with additional training “about Title IX rights and remedies, relationships, consent, and reports of sex-based harassment and assault with a focus on intervention, recognition, guidance.”

The district will display posters in the bathrooms, cafeterias and libraries at all the district high schools that explain consent and sexual assault. 

The district is also required to send out a statement this fall about its zero tolerance for sexual harassment. 

The district said in a statement that they have already taken steps to address concerns about Title IX and discrimination. That includes adopting new policies and a new student code of conduct, adding a Title IX coordinator position, and other training requirements. 

Over the past several years, there have been several students who have pressed charges against Fairview athletes in separate criminal cases.

Editor's note: Because of incomplete information given to CPR News, the total amount that the Boulder Valley School District is paying two students as part of a settlement agreement is $1.2 million.