MULESHOE, Texas — A former student of Watson Junior High School in Muleshoe (and later Muleshoe High School) sued the school district last week – accusing the Muleshoe ISD of violating his Title IX civil rights. Title IX forbids sex discrimination in education.
The lawsuit claimed Stephanie Leeann Lowery was employed by Muleshoe ISD as a coach and reading teacher at Watson.
“Over the next few years, Lowery groomed Plaintiff, eventually luring him into a sexual relationship,” the lawsuit said.
In August 2018, Lowery was charged and MISD issued a statement at that time saying she resigned, and the situation was taken to law enforcement agencies for investigation.
Lowery was listed since October 2020 with the Texas Sex Offender Registry, and she required to register for a lifetime. The offense listed was sexual assault.
“After years of grooming, [the 16-year-old student] succumbed to Lowery’s advances,” the lawsuit said. That was in the spring of 2018.
Even after she was caught and resigned, the lawsuit said, “She continued to text him that she was sorry and sent Plaintiff a handwritten letter, writing, ‘Hopefully, when all this is over, I can be there for you again’ and, ‘Please tell me this was not all in my head and you truly care too.’”
The lawsuit said in the fall of 2018, Muleshoe ISD staff knew what happened and created a hostile campus environment.
“In particular, one teacher pointed to a classroom plastic skeleton and told [the 16-year-old boy’s] sister that her ‘family’s skeleton in the closet’ was the [16-year-old],” the lawsuit said.
A portion of the lawsuit said:
MISD Employee’s History Of Inappropriate Sexual Conduct
- Based on information and belief, prior to Lowery’s sexual assaults of Plaintiff, MISD had a history of inappropriate sexual relationships between employees and students.
- Based on information and belief, in approximately 2015, a female Muleshoe High School student was sexually abused by her Muleshoe High School basketball coach. Following multiple incidents of sexual abuse, the basketball coach was asked to resign, and no further actions were taken by MISD.
- Based on information and belief, in or around 2013-2014, a female Muleshoe High School teacher was caught engaging in intercourse with a male student in the teacher’s classroom.
- Based on information and belief, MISD employees knew about Lowery’s inappropriate sexual relationship with Plaintiff. Lowery frequently spent an unusual amount of time with Plaintiff while on campus, and after Lowery resigned, she called Plaintiff and told him that other teachers knew about their sexual relationship.
The superintendent for Muleshoe ISD chose not to comment Tuesday morning.