Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Second grader’s family files lawsuit against Albuquerque Public Schools

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – A young girl’s family is suing Albuquerque public schools after the district failed to protect the child from sexual abuse by their teacher while in school. Several young students came forward accusing Danny Aldaz of sexually abusing them in his second grade. Now the family of one of the alleged victims is taking matters into their own hands and is filing a lawsuit today.

APS teacher charged with sexually assaulting two students

“The Albuquerque Public Schools are very to blame,” said Gail Stewart, an attorney who represents the victim’s family. “As for the atmosphere, Mr. Aldaz was allowed to sexually abuse children, including the classroom and the lax guidelines of Title IX.”

According to lawyers, a then seven-year-old second grader of the Valle Vista Elementary reported the attack almost two years ago and said her teacher Danny Aldaz had exposed himself several times. Parents say the district has since failed to keep them abreast of investigations against Aldaz and promoted an environment that was conducive to sexual abuse – from the layout of the classroom where Aldaz reportedly covered a storage area to stay hidden where the alleged one was Abuse took place to fail to enforce federal policy to protect children from sexual violence.

The third student answers and claims that the APS teacher abused him

“Federal Title IX would protect students from discrimination and harassment based on sex, including sexual violence,” said Stewart. “Albuquerque public schools do not have a system that meets Title IX expectations of protecting children.”

Since this alleged victim came forward, at least three other Aldaz former students have reported similar abuses while teaching at Valle Vista, and before that Helen Cordero, dating back at least 2013. Lawyers say the district knew of wrongdoing but kept him in the classroom until early 2020.

“The concern is that the Albuquerque Public Schools took many steps or omissions that could have prevented this child’s injuries since they didn’t have the teacher until the 2019-20 school year,” Stewart said. “As we know from the criminal complaint, another student in the Bernalillo district came forward with allegations of similar sexual abuse by the same teacher for many years. If the Albuquerque Public Schools had conducted an investigation and responded to observations before the 19-20 school year, this kid probably would not have had this teacher. It’s really sad when it looks like there was a long history that the Albuquerque Public Schools failed to attend, and part of that is that they don’t have the guidelines to look out for. “

According to the lawsuit, Aldaz is still licensed through the New Mexico Public Education Department. He has pleaded not guilty to the recent allegations against Aldaz. The process is scheduled for June 2022.

KRQE News 13 reached out to APS to find out why Aldaz was allowed to be in a classroom for as long as the allegations stretched back to 2013. They declined to comment on any pending litigation.

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