A lawsuit was recently filed by families of Chardon High School shooting victims, alleging that the school administrators were aware that the high school needed more security, but failed to make changes. The suit also states that administrators at the alternative school attended by the shooter (not the same school where the shooting occurred) failed to properly evaluate him, and did not provide warnings about his mental instability and potential for violence. Both of the schools and school administrators were named in the lawsuit.
What do you think? Should schools be held liable for “unacceptable” levels of security? How much security is enough? Are there established protocols to issue warnings of someone’s potential for violence? At what point does it become too risky to allow that student access to the school? What steps can schools take to not only provide physical protection for the building and its occupants, but to protect against lawsuits?
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The families of three teenagers gunned down at Chardon High School sued the school district and the school where convicted shooter T.J. Lane attended, claiming officials failed to provide adequate security and assess the danger Lane posed his fellow students.
Attorneys for families of the victims, including Rusty King, and some of those who were wounded filed a personal injury lawsuit Thursday against the Chardon school district, some of its administrators and the alternative school that the shooter attended.
The suit contends that someone told Chardon schools and board members that security was a concern before the shooting, according to WOIO.
The lawsuit says that the defendants were “specifically warned and advised for the need for additional security at Chardon High School in order to protect the student body and deter the likelihood of criminal assaults.”
“The Chardon Schools and/or the individual defendants who were whether employed by Chardon Local Schools or served on their Board, were specifically warned and advised for the need for additional security at Chardon High School in order to protect the student body and deter the likelihood of criminal assaults by at-risk students and/or intruders,” the lawsuit says. “Despite these warnings and recommendations, Defendant Chardon Schools and/or their Board and Administrators failed to provide the additional security, procedures and politics to prevent and deter criminal attacks from happening.
“The shooting incident occurred within and on the grounds of public buildings used for government functions and is due, at least in part, to employee and board negligence, reckless conduct, willful indifference, malice conscious disregard, as well as, physical defects in the the facilities.”