BRUNSWICK COUNTY -- There are new developments in three on-going lawsuits against the Brunswick County school board. Three separate sets of parents filed suit last year against the board, claiming school leaders didn't do enough to protect their children from inappropriate relationships with school employees. The school board's attorney wanted the cases dismissed. Instead, the parents' attorney re-filed the original suits today with two additional claims. Robert Tatum, the attorney representing the parents, says the school board has settled cases in the past and is choosing not to do so with these claims. Tatum says it's a violation of equal protection rights for the school board to pick and choose which claims to settle. Tatum doesn't know who the board has settled with in the past. He can't explore that further until this suit is filed. Tatum represents the parents of Windy Hager, who married her South Brunswick cross country coach; the parents of a learning disabled student molested by a West Brunswick High School custodian; and the parents of a West Brunswick student who had a sexual relationship with a teacher. Tatum stresses these lawsuits are not an indictment against Brunswick County teachers in general. He said, "These lawsuits are directed toward the superintendent and the board of education, because the problems that we've had here is when they've identified problem teachers, rather than addressing that and getting these folks out of the school system, they've tried to cover it up." Tatum says as a result of these new amendments to the suits, he at least wants the school board to be more open about how it handles cases. Tatum says the school board's attorney now has 60 days to respond to the complaints. Phone calls to school board members, a school spokesperson and the school's attorney were not returned.
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