Former Walla Walla band teacher cited in sexual abuse lawsuit
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Former Walla Walla band teacher Michael Jones was cited in a lawsuit filed on behalf of a former student.
“Suffer the worst impact and the worst damage because there is a lack of trust in the system,” Attorney Darrell Cochran, who’s representing the young woman, said.
Cochran said his client was just 12 years old when she was in Jones’ choir class at Pioneer Middle School in Walla Walla.
The complaint said from 2015 to 2016, the Plaintiff suffered through grooming and sexual abuse from her teacher. Although much time has passed, she’s now taking action.
“For a student like ours to come forward and take a stand on that is a testament to how strong she really is,” Cochran said.
What’s worse, Cochran said, is the Walla Walla Public School District started getting allegations about Jones’ behavior as early as 2008.
“Received information from students and particularly mothers over the years letting the district know that Michael Jones was the type of teacher who, over and over again, would establish inappropriate relationships with female students always kind of invading their personal space,” the attorney said.
KAPP KVEW reached out to the WWPSD who provided this response:
“A lawsuit has been filed against Walla Walla Public Schools. The lawsuit alleges that during the 2015-2016 school year a former teacher, Mr. Michael Jones, allegedly engaged in misconduct.
The District takes the allegations in the lawsuit very seriously. The safety of our students is, and has always been, our number one goal. The District remains committed to ensuring an environment where all of our students feel safe.
Walla Walla Public Schools recognizes that the allegations set forth in the lawsuit touch upon sensitive subjects for all the involved individuals. We are unable to offer any further comment on the lawsuit or the specific allegations contained in the lawsuit at this time.
As this matter proceeds through the litigation process, the District will remain committed to providing a safe and positive educational experience for all of its students, teachers, parents, and the community.”
According to a school board meeting recap, Jones either retired or resigned in July 2020.
Cochran said they want to make sure Jones never has the opportunity to harm anyone else.
“Until that happens, Jones is free to go out there teach at other districts and the community really needs to understand the danger he is,” he explained.
The attorney also hopes the lawsuit sends a message.
“Whether that’s the community understanding that they shouldn’t take guitar lessons from him, or school districts understanding that they shouldn’t be hiring him, or government agencies taking away teaching certification, that’s the kind of impact we wanna make with this,” Cochran said OSPI has not revoked Jones’ teaching credentials.
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