Parties involved in 2019 Title IX lawsuit reach settlement

Published 3:15 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2024

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A former Andalusia High School student and the Andalusia City School System have reached a settlement agreement in a lawsuit related to sexual misconduct, according to court documents.

The plaintiff in the case filed a Title IX lawsuit with the Middle District of Alabama Northern District Court in 2019 naming as defendants the Andalusia City School System (Board of Education), then-Superintendent Ted Watson, and then-AHS Principal Daniel Shakespeare, now the system’s superintendent.

The lawsuit claims that school officials hired former basketball coach Anthony Clark despite those officials having knowledge that he engaged in inappropriate relationships with students and teaching assistants while serving in previous positions at other schools. The lawsuit also relates to an alleged months-long sexual relationship between the plaintiff and Clark, as well as alleged misconduct by Shakespeare.

All defendants involved in the case denied the allegations after the lawsuit was filed and no criminal charges were ever filed.

The lawsuit filed by the plaintiff stated that Clark had engaged in sexual misconduct with the student during the 2017-2018 school year while the student was 17 and 18 years old and described encounters on and off campus.

The former student stated in the original court filing that other school officials were aware of the inappropriate relationship, but did not report it as required by law. The plaintiff also stated in the lawsuit that the situation caused extreme emotional distress that led to a suicide attempt.

Clark’s employment with the school system ended in May 2018 when his contract was not renewed.

In a court decision dated March 2023, Watson was dismissed as a party in the case and was removed as a defendant and certain allegations made against Shakespeare were also dismissed.

The most recent court filing indicates that the settlement reached will resolve all claims, including any pending motions. The settlement amount was not disclosed.