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Parents Say Catholic School Tried To|Muzzle Them After Disturbing Incidents

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. (CN) - Parents say a teacher at their daughter's Catholic school sexually harassed and made advances to the 12-year-old, and when they complained, administrators tried to coerce them into signing an agreement that prohibited them from mentioning the incidents to other parents. When they refused, they say, the Palmer Catholic Academy kicked their daughter out of school.

The parents say their 7th-grade daughter told them her religion teacher, Paul J. Schreier, repeatedly looked down her blouse and would "scrunch down in his chair to look up the plaintiff's skirt."

The parents say school officials were informed of this but made no reasonable efforts to prevent further harassment. The plaintiffs say Schreier was allowed to return to the classroom, where he asked the girl to stay after class. He allegedly told her, "I know what you did; stop making allegations about me."

The one-on-one confrontation gave the girl "uncontrollable heart palpitations, crying and severe emotional distress," her parents say.

The parents say school officials asked them to sign an agreement that would prohibit them from speaking to other parents, students or teachers at Palmer Catholic Academy in Ponte Vedra Beach. After they refused, they say, they received a "de-enrollment" notice.

The family also sued the Diocese of Saint Augustine. They are represented in Duval County Court by Pamela Randle.

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