CHICAGO - Seven former Lake Forest High School students are suing the school, claiming it did nothing to protect them from two abusive teachers.
The two federal lawsuits, filed Friday in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, name teachers Cynthia Martin and David Miller as defendants.
One lawsuit claims Miller groomed and sexually abused male students over a period of nearly 35 years. The suit alleges school administration concealed the abuse in order to protect the reputation of an award-winning media arts program Miller oversaw.
The other lawsuit says Martin brought students to her house and gave them drugs and alcohol before forcing them to have sex. The suit claims her departure from Lake Forest High School was "quietly arranged" rather than reporting her behavior to authorities.
Both lawsuits, which seek unspecified monetary damages, claim school officials were aware of allegations dating back to the 1980's and did nothing.
"It is believed that Lake Forest Community High School District 115 and Lake Forest High School elected to cover up the abuse rather than face the consequences of the devastation caused by its teachers and staff," the lawsuit said.
The school provided the following statement in regards to the lawsuit:
"As educators and school leaders, there is nothing more important than maintaining a safe learning environment for our students. We believe it is critical for students and staff to know that they can come forward to report allegations and to do so without fear of retaliation and with the confidence that their matter will be fully investigated.
We care about the wellbeing of all Lake Forest High School students, past and present. We have not yet seen the documents referenced but certainly take all reports of misconduct extremely seriously.
The District mandates yearly Global Compliance Network training for all employees in an ongoing effort to educate our school community about misconduct. This training includes how to understand appropriate boundaries in all contexts, including in-person and digital, how to recognize and respond to possible abuse, and mandatory reporting of suspected abuse of minors.
We encourage anyone with concerns about misconduct to reach out to their local authorities."