Southern California School District Settles Lawsuit Involving Teacher’s Sexual Abuse for $2.25 Million
Redlands Unified School District, located in Southern California, has agreed to pay $2.25 million to reach a settlement in the latest lawsuit involving a teacher who became pregnant by one of the students she was accused of sexually abusing. This settlement brings the total amount paid by the school district to Laura Whitehurst’s victims since her 2013 arrest to an astonishing $8.25 million, according to the Southern California News Group.
In a previous settlement reached in August 2016, the district had agreed to pay $6 million to a former student who impregnated Whitehurst while she was his teacher. The most recent lawsuit, filed in 2021, was initiated by another former student who claimed that he too was preyed upon and sexually abused by Whitehurst while attending Redlands High School between 2007 and 2008, when he was just 14 years old. Morgan Stewart, the plaintiff’s attorney, revealed that Whitehurst confessed to engaging in sexual intercourse with the youth on multiple occasions, both in her classroom and at her apartment.
Christine Stephens, spokesperson for Redlands Unified, acknowledged the settlement but refrained from making any comments due to the confidentiality agreements in place. However, in the previous lawsuit, the student who fathered Whitehurst’s child alleged that school officials were well aware of his inappropriate relationship with the teacher and failed to notify his family, thus implying negligence on the part of the district.
The birth of Whitehurst’s child occurred in 2014, a result of her sexual relationship with the student, which lasted for an entire year starting when he was just 16 years old. Whitehurst, an English teacher and soccer coach, pleaded guilty to engaging in unlawful sex with three former students. As a consequence, she served a six-month jail sentence and was required to register as a sex offender.
This latest settlement further highlights the grave consequences of the teacher’s actions and the impact it has had on the victims and their families. The Redlands Unified School District is now faced with a staggering financial burden, as these lawsuits underscore the importance of ensuring the safety and well-being of students within educational institutions. The question of the district’s knowledge and subsequent failure to take appropriate action also raises concerns regarding the responsibility and accountability of school officials in addressing such violations.