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Teacher Accused of|Grades-for-Sex Scheme

(CN) - An Alabama high school student claims in court that a teacher propositioned her as part of a "sex for grades" scheme in his history class.

The female student, who is younger than 17, sued the teacher, Phillip Smith III, along with the Birmingham City School district and the Birmingham Board of Education in Jefferson County Circuit Court, claiming violations of both federal and state law.

According to the Dec. 18 complaint, the 42-year-old teacher was a history instructor at Huffman High School, which is a part of the Birmingham City School district.

Prior to administering an exam on December of 2013, the student claims, Smith inexplicably directed her not to sit in her usual seat, but instead insisted she to sit just "within arm's reach of his desk."

The lawsuit alleges that during the exam, Smith assed the student a note that said, "Since you think you got it like that come back on seventh period, pull down your pants and let me kiss your ass. I will do and 'A or B' or whatever you want."

The student reported the incident to her mother, who subsequently reported the "attempted sexual exploitation" to the school and police.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff later learned that Smith had allegedly targeted other victims to "solicit sex in exchange for better grades."

The targeted victims, the suit claims, were students who "struggled academically."

According to the complaint, Smith was later indicted on charges of sexual contact with a student under the age of 19, first-degree sodomy and second-degree sodomy.

He later pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of endangering the welfare of a child before Jefferson County Circuit Judge Clyde Jones.

Under the terms of the plea deal, Smith was given a suspended 12-month jail sentence and was placed on two years unsupervised probation. He was also ordered to complete 25 hours of community service and to pay a $250 fine.

He was fired from his job in April 2014, after an extended period on leave while the school district investigated the allegations against him.

The student says the school system and the board of education violated her "statutory and Constitutional rights," by failing to take corrective measures to prevent her sexual exploitation.

"Defendants' failure to take action to prevent a sexual hostile environment at Huffman High School caused a deliberate indifference to be tolerated concerning the sexually hostile exploitative environment to continue in violation of JC's constitutional rights," the complaint says.

The student seeks unspecified damages on the statutory and Constitutional claims, as well as on claims of negligence, outrage, assault and battery and invasion of privacy.

The suit was brought by the student's parent and legal guardian, C.P.

She is represented Julian Hendrix of Fairfield, Ala.

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