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Judge dismisses Sandy Hook parents' lawsuit over security

Judge dismisses Sandy Hook parents' lawsuit over security

May 08, 2018 03:02 PM

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut judge has cited government immunity in dismissing a lawsuit by the parents of two children killed in the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre against the town and its school district over alleged inadequate security measures.

Superior Court Judge Robin Wilson, in a decision released Tuesday, granted the town's request to dismiss the lawsuit, agreeing school officials were immune from being sued and the security procedures in place were discretionary.

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"Emergencies, by their very nature, are sudden and often rapidly evolving events, and a response can never be one hundred percent scripted and directed," Wilson wrote.

"To say that the faculty and staff of the school were to act in a prescribed manner in responding to an emergency situation would likewise be illogical and in direct contradiction to the very purpose of governmental immunity: allowing for the exercise of judgment without fear of second-guessing," she wrote.

The shooting killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. Gunman Adam Lanza, 20, fatally shot his mother at their Newtown home before going to the school, where he killed himself as police arrived. Lanza shot his way through a locked glass entryway to get into the building.

The parents of two first-graders killed in the shooting, Jesse Lewis and Noah Pozner, sued the town on several claims, including that school officials didn't follow security procedures including immediately ordering a school lockdown after Lanza shot his way in, which they say may have saved lives. They also said the school's classroom doors could only be locked from the outside in the hallway, making it impossible for teachers to safely lock them as Lanza approached their classrooms.

Their lawyer, Donald Papcsy, said they will appeal the ruling and hope the state Supreme Court overturns it.

"This ruling (which every parent should read) should serve as NOTICE to all parents of young boys and girls: Our children are not safe in public schools," Papcsy said in a statement.

"From our neighbors in Sandy Hook, to the young men and women of Parkland, the legislatures and judicial systems have decided for all of us that, even when the facts support a total breakdown of school security protocol, the 'immunity' laws are used as an excuse to prevent parents from holding them accountable," he said. "We will continue to fight for this cause so that, someday, we can live in a world where we know our children are going to come home at the end of the school day."

The lawsuit also alleged that school officials failed to provide keys to either teacher Victoria Soto or substitute teacher Lauren Rousseau so they could follow school lockdown procedures, if ordered, and lock their doors.

Fifteen students and Rousseau were killed in Room 8, and five students and Soto were slain in Room 10.

Charles DeLuca, a lawyer for the town, said Lanza was solely responsible and liable for the shooting.

"We don't believe that there was any evidence that the town or its employees or the Board of Education was negligent or at fault in any way for this tragedy that occurred," DeLuca said Tuesday.

Credits

By DAVE COLLINS

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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