Tag Archives: Anthony Smith

Costs unknown for Berkeley High School harassment case

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By Anika Anand and Emily Hartley
California Watch 

After a Berkeley High School student complained of sexual harassment by her guidance counselor, the Berkeley Unified School District spent $94,000 on lawyers to fight her claim.

Then in February, school officials made a $57,500 insurance payout to settle the girl’s lawsuit, according to court records and interviews.

The financially strapped school district’s spending on the controversial harassment case probably was greater. But for the past year, school district officials have refused to disclose how much they spent on the case, ignoring information requests filed under the state’s Public Records Act by California Watch and by a legal watchdog group, the First Amendment Coalition. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High counselor given seven-day suspension

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The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) has issued Berkeley High School counselor Anthony Smith with a seven-day suspension notice, after a former student took a sexual harassment complaint to the Commission last year.

Former BHS student “Lilah R.” (a fictitious name) filed a complaint with CCTC on December 16, 2011 2010 against Smith for engaging in sexual misconduct during the 2009-10 school year. The Berkeley school board voted earlier this year to approve a settlement in the student’s separate federal sexual harassment lawsuit. The settlement included compensation of  $57,500 and imposed conditions on Smith when he carries out his counseling duties.

BUSD spokesperson Mark Coplan said the district could not comment on a personnel issue that involved disciplinary action, but that Berkeley High administration and BUSD would follow whatever directive is imposed on them. “We will do as directed by the authoritative body,” he said.

CCTC issued the notice on May 4. Coplan could not confirm when Smith would begin the suspension. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley school district settles sexual harassment case

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The Berkeley School Board last night voted to approve a settlement in a federal sexual harassment lawsuit against the Berkeley Unified School District, which includes compensation of $57,500 and conditions imposed on Anthony Smith, the Berkeley High counselor at the center of the case. BUSD has also committed to revising its training and policies on sexual harassment as part of the settlement. BUSD denies any liability in this case.

Lilah R. (the fictitious name under which she sued) was a 16-year-old junior at Berkeley High in the 2009-2010 school year when she, she said, she was subjected to persistent and pervasive conduct of a sexual nature by Smith, her academic counselor.

Lilah R. reported that Smith caressed her inner thigh and made unwelcome comments, such as he wanted to “share feelings” with her, asked her if she slept naked, and asked to work out together. Although Smith denied the charges in Lilah R.’s complaint, an initial BUSD investigation found that Lilah R. was the more credible witness and that Smith’s conduct was “inappropriate and unprofessional.” Lilah R. sued after BUSD rejected the family’s suggestion to remove Smith from the high school campus. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High sexual harassment case close to settling

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Update, 4:40 pm: In a release issued at 4:16 pm, BUSD Superintendent Bill Huyett states: “As a school district, we take this kind of allegation very seriously. We do a thorough investigation in all cases, and we take the appropriate action when it is warranted, and furthermore, the school district does not admit to any wrongdoing in this case.” The statement also confirms Berkeleyside’s reporting that the case has not yet been settled.

Original story: The sexual harassment lawsuit against Berkeley High School counselor Anthony Smith is close to reaching a settlement, subject to the approval of the Berkeley school district board.

According to a story today in the Chronicle, the district has been ordered to pay $57,500 to the family of a former BHS student, known as Lilah R. (a pseudonym) who filed suit against Smith for inappropriate touching and suggestive remarks in the 2010-11 academic year. Smith, who continues to work as as counselor at BHS, must also keep the door to his office and blinds open when counseling female students in future. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High harassment case heading to settlement

Berkeley High School. Photo: Lance Knobel
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The long-running case concerning alleged sexual harassment by Berkeley High counselor Anthony Smith came to Federal Court today in San Francisco and now looks likely to be settled by the school district.

Judge Maria-Elena James considered the Berkeley Unified School District’s motion to dismiss the federal suit against Smith, the district and Superintendent Bill Huyett (the full text of the suit is here). The judge denied the motion to dismiss three state law claims in the suit and dismissed a claim of negligence without prejudice, providing an opening for the plaintiff to refile with a more specific complaint of negligence.

Berkeleyside broke the news that Smith had been accused of sexually harassing a junior at BHS in April 2010. In September 2010, at the beginning of the student’s senior year, a temporary restraining order was granted ordering Smith to stay at least 100 yards away from the student. An out-of-court settlement was reached on the restraining order in October, when Smith agreed to stay at least 50 yards from the student. The federal case considered today seeking unspecified damages was filed in April this year. … Continue reading »

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BHS sexual harassment case taken to federal court

Berkeley High School. Photo: Lance Knobel
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The family of a senior Berkeley High student is suing BHS counselor Anthony Smith for sexual harassment in federal court after it found the school district’s response to their earlier complaints to be unsatisfactory.

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in San Francisco on Monday, also names Berkeley schools Superintendent William Huyett and the district. It states that Lilah R (a fictitious name used to protect the student’s identity) “was subjected to severe and pervasive sexual … Continue reading »

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