Teacher sues for alleged sexual harassment by students

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A teacher at a Catholic all-boys high school in San Mateo filed a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court Thursday against the school and the San Francisco Archdiocese, which oversees the school, for alleged sexual harassment by the students last year.

In the complaint, teacher Kimberly Bohnert, alleges last May students at Serra High School, located at 451 W. 20th Ave., had taken “up-skirt” photographs and graphic video of her that was spread around the student body.

She claims other female teachers had been similarly targeted by students in previous years.

Bohnert is represented by the Berkeley law firm Kochan and Stephenson.

Bohnert, who began working for the Archdiocese at Serra High School in 2006, says in the suit she was “forced” to take an extended leave of absence last year because of the harassment.

In the suit, Bohnert claims the school took no action against the students until Bohnert told administrators she was taking the case to police.

At which point, the suit alleges, the school told San Mateo police about the photographs and named certain boys that Bohnert had confronted and believed were responsible for spreading the images.

In the suit, Bohnert says police investigated the situation and found that the students had created a “challenge” in the past three years for students to get up-skirt videos and photographs of female teachers.

She also alleges that an Internet meme and tweets about her and two other teachers were circulating and she had been the target of sexually explicit graffiti written on a boys’ bathroom stall on campus the year before.

She alleges that the school destroyed evidence on students’ phones during their own investigation of the issue and failed to investigate many aspects of the case and previous incidences.

The school issued a statement earlier this week, but a school spokeswoman declined to comment today until school officials had revised their comments about the case.

The suit seeks the cost of damages and back pay for Bohnert, along with other costs, and demands a jury trial for the claims.

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