School wrongful death, assault with injuries lawsuits: School security expert witness says cases are going from the schoolhouse to the courthouse

Posted by on September 15, 2017

Today’s headlines on this week’s school shooting from The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, reads: “Signs and warnings failed to prevent Freeman school shooting.” Given observations over recent years, it would not be surprising if a future headline reads: “Lawsuit filed on school shooting claims warning signs were missed.”

A wrongful death suit against former Chardon, Ohio, school district administrators stemming from a 2012 school shooting is set for trial in February of 2018. A civil trial where students were injured in a school shooting in Madison Township, Ohio, will also go to trial next year.

Whether warning signs were missed, if school officials dropped a ball, whether schools had reasonable security and safety measures in place, and if school-associated deaths or assaults with violent injuries could have been prevented will be evaluated case-by-case based upon the evidence in each specific case that may be taken to litigation.  School officials can expect that not only higher-profile school shooting cases but also other school security incidents, such as violent assaults with injuries, may move from the schoolhouse to the courthouse as parents pursue litigation on school safety cases.

My forensic expert witness consulting includes analysis of a variety of types of school crime, violence and related school safety cases. Whether I am retained to evaluate cases by plaintiff or defense attorneys in a school safety lawsuit, the assessment of the case is undertaken with the understanding that the facts of each case are unique. One common thread, however, is that most of the cases involve allegations of failures of people and/or procedures, not failures of security hardware, products, and related equipment.

Have you given thought to how your school district would respond to school wrongful death, violent assault with injuries, or other school safety lawsuit claims against your school?

Ken Trump

National School Safety and Security Services

Experts You Can Trust! 

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One thought on “School wrongful death, assault with injuries lawsuits: School security expert witness says cases are going from the schoolhouse to the courthouse

  1. Ward B. Buckingham, M.D. says:

    Mr. Trump…I have 2 grandchildren at Spokane’s Freeman High School. Though you appear to be an expert on school security issues, I disagree with your opinion that folks like me are simply over-reactors as we seek change. Single entry/exit (for non-emergency use) with armed police officer and metal detector works for city/county public safety buildings and law enforcement offices. Why not apply same to school facilities? Oh, but it will inconvenience many. It will cost too much money. It creates an armed fortress atmosphere. It infringes on individual liberty. Hogwash! You and I both know that decades of added school costs of facility modification and armed police officers won’t even approach the monetary cost of a single jury award for wrongful death of a son or daughter on school grounds. Our children and their teachers deserve a safe haven in which to be educated and to educate. No one can deceive smart children into believing schools are very very safe when those same children have just lived through real life threat to life and limb in their own school this week. There have been dozens of Freemans this year alone, testifying to the reality that schools are simply not safe havens anymore. Radical action is required. I agree that metal detectors alone are simply inadequate. A comprehensive package of changes must be adopted to restore faith and trust in our schools being safe havens which they were when you and I transited same as youth. I would welcome the opportunity to participate in any ‘task force’ committed to improving local school security…not simply fanning the airwaves with emotion-laden rhetoric that passes into obscurity weeks after this current tragedy is past history.

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