Lawsuit filed against Aztec School District

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON − A lawsuit filed this week by the parents of an Aztec High School student alleges that the Aztec School District engaged in behavior that created emotional and physical harm against a minor.

The suit, which was filed in San Juan County's Judicial Court, further accuses Aztec High School assistant principal Charda Sanders as well as the high school's football coach Hank Strauss, of "engaging in extreme and outrageous conduct" and negligence in hiring practices, as well as a breach of contract to provide a safe educational environment.

More:Hank Strauss, Aztec HS football coach, charged with battery against student

A copy of the lawsuit, which was obtained by the Daily-Times, details an alleged incident on the Aztec High School campus Sept. 2, in which Strauss was charged with criminal battery.

The suit goes on to detail events that the school district participated in which the suit states have caused the student to experience "severe suffering, emotional distress, anxiety, humiliation and other losses."

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The 13-count lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and was filed while the criminal charges against Strauss await trial, which is scheduled to begin next month.

The parents of the student have retained the services of the Burns Law Group, based in Farmington.

The suit alleges that as a result of Strauss' hiring and retention by the school district in the aftermath of the alleged incident, the district was negligent in preventing the student from being subjected to physical battery, verbal assault, bullying and intimidation.

Jonathan Acrey, associate superintendent of human resources for the Aztec School District, was unable to comment on the filing of the suit.

"We don't have any official comment since its potential pending litigation," Acrey said Friday morning. "I don't have any information I can share at this time."

Strauss is preparing the Aztec High School football team for a second round playoff game this weekend on the road against Silver High School.