Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division
ELIZABETH CASTILLO, a Minor, by Her Mother, Esperanza Castillo, ESPERANZA CASTILLO, ROSALINO CASTILLO, MARIA CASTILLO, YESENIA CASTILLO, and ENRIQUE CASTILLO, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, Defendant-Appellee.
from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 16 L 267, The
Honorable Kathy M. Flanagan, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Presiding Justice Neville and Justice Mason concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 Elizabeth Castillo, a high school student, and her family
sued the Chicago Board of Education, after Estrella Martinez,
a fellow student, physically attacked her off-campus.
Castillo alleged that school officials failed to protect
Castillo from Martinez's on-campus harassment and
eventual off-campus attack. The trial court held that the
Board was immune from suit.
2 We affirm because that is what the law requires. The
Board's alleged failure to prevent on-campus harassment
depended on discretionary decisions regarding school
discipline. And its alleged failure to protect Castillo from
an off-campus attack involves police protection. In both
areas, the Board has statutory immunity. Finally, Castillo
did not sufficiently allege that the Board spoiled evidence
by not preserving a diary where she recorded Martinez's
4 According to Castillo's suit, Martinez physically
attacked her off-campus. Before the attack, Martinez had
previously attacked Castillo on school grounds, in front of
school officials, including once on the day of the off-campus
attack. In the two years before the attack, Castillo's
mother had spoken several times to school officials about
Martinez harassing Castillo at school. Castillo's mother
called the school just before the attack to complain about
Martinez, but no one would talk to her. After the attack,
Castillo's mother went to the school to retrieve the
contents of Castillo's locker, including a diary in which
her daughter had written about the harassment; but school
officials refused to give Castillo's belongings to her
mother, and the diary was never found.
5 Castillo alleged that the Board had been negligent by
allowing Martinez to remain a student despite her conduct;
failing to prevent Martinez's harassment or the attack by
expelling her, calling the police or the girls' parents,
or providing a safe place on school grounds for Castillo to
wait and avoid Martinez; and failing to warn Castillo of
Martinez's planned attack. Castillo also alleged that the
Board had committed spoliation of evidence by losing,
destroying, or failing to preserve her diary.
6 The Board moved to dismiss Castillo's complaint,
arguing that it was immune because school officials had no
duty to perform police functions by preventing Martinez's
off-campus attack on Castillo and disciplinary matters are
discretionary. The Board also argued that it had no duty to
preserve Castillo's diary, that there were no facts
alleging that school officials knew about the diary, and that
it was not foreseeable that the diary would become important
in the eventual lawsuit.
7 The trial court dismissed Castillo's complaint.
8 Standard of Review
9 We review a trial court's dismissal under section 2-619
of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-619 (West 2016))
de novo, taking as true all well-pleaded facts and
interpreting pleadings in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. Mulvey v. Carl Sandburg High
School, 2016 IL App (1st) 151615, ¶ 41.
11 Castillo frames her brief around whether she sufficiently
alleged a cause of action or a prima facie case
against the Board. Like the trial court, we will assume that