School Shooting Victims Blame Administrators
PAINESVILLE, Ohio (CN) - Parents of the three children killed in the 2012 Chardon School shooting, and a survivor, claim the school and its administrators failed to provide adequate security against the attack, which they say "was foreseeable and preventable."
Robert and Dina Parmertor, Jeannie and Russell King, Todd M. McKenney, Phyllis Ferguson and Nick Walczak sued Chardon Local Schools, Chardon High School, the Chardon Board of Education, the Lake Academy Alternative School and numerous school officials, in Lake County Court of Common Pleas.
Walczak is a survivor of the Feb. 27, 2012 school shooting committed by T.J. Lane, who has pleaded guilty to murder and other charges and was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without possibility of parole.
The remaining plaintiffs represent the estates of Daniel Parmertor, Russell King Jr. and Demetrius Hewlin, all of whom were killed by Lane.
Lane, who opened fire on students in the Chardon High School cafeteria with a handgun he brought from his grandparents' home, was waiting for a bus transfer to the Lake Academy Alternative School.
Previous lawsuits filed against Lane and his family alleged the gun and ammunition used in the shooting were not properly locked up, but this lawsuit places the blame on the school and its administrators.
Neither T.J. Lane nor any of his family members are named as defendants.
The victims' parents say that "numerous teachers present in the school came to the rescue of students and acted in a heroic manner to prevent the loss of further human life."
"Unfortunately, due to the alarming lack of security and inadequate policies and procedures, the Chardon Schools, their individual board members, and their current or former administrators, unreasonably placed these teachers on the front line to have to confront a shooter without adequate protection and security which would have likely prevented and deterred this criminal assault and shooting from occurring."
The parents claim that Lane "was mentally unstable and [at] high risk for committing violent acts. Lane had committed acts of violence on prior occasion(s).
"At all times mentioned herein, T.J. Lane planned the attack at Chardon Schools which was foreseeable and preventable by defendants." (Parentheses in complaint.)
The families claim the Lake Academy "failed to properly evaluate, assess and respond to the risks and dangers presented by T.J. Lane and further, failed to warn others, including Chardon Local Schools, of his mental instability and his at-risk propensity to commit violent acts toward others, including the plaintiffs herein."
Walczak and the victims' families seek punitive damages for negligence and loss of consortium.
They are represented by W. Craig Bashein of Bashein and Bashein, in Cleveland.