School attorney: 'No evidence' district knew of teacher misconduct

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) There is no evidence that shows Mojave Unified School District administrators had any prior knowledge of former teacher Amber Failla's sexual relationships with students, according to an attorney representing the district.

Bakersfield attorney Michael Keller, in response to a civil lawsuit brought by the lawyer representing two boys in the original case against Failla, said the district acted quickly to remove the former teacher from her job immediately after finding out about the allegations.

"The plaintiffs allegations regarding negligent supervision or management of Amber Failla have been ongoing for a long time," Keller said. "We think it's clear that Mojave is a very responsible school district. If they had any knowledge that Ms. Failla was doing any of the things that had been alleged, action would've been taken against her at an earlier time."

Failla pleaded no contest in 2012 to having sex with a student, leading to a 2013 sentence of three years probation.

On Thursday, Los Angeles-based attorney Brian Claypool, who represented the boys in the original case, said new evidence suggests negligence on the part of the school district.

"We learned the principal of this high school knew in 2010 of rumors that Amber Failla was texting almost all of her students and having communications with her students and transporting students to and from school," Claypool said on Thursday. "There were clearly red flags that this teacher Amber Failla was a child predator and a sexual predcator and the school district did nothing when they had this red flag back in 2010"

Keller said the school was notified of the rumors by a California City police detective in a case that was originally dropped.

"During that earlier contact, little, if any, information was conveyed by that investigating officer and, in fact, his investigation was closed for lack of evidence," Keller said. "The incidents that are alleged in this lawsuit are her personal actions, of which she is personally responsible."

A trial date has been tentatively set for February 2015.