Colorado Governor Signs School Shooting Lawsuit Bill

Colorado has enacted a new law that allows courts to find schools liable for damages caused by school violence.

A new law in Colorado allows people to bring lawsuits against schools in cases of student injuries or deaths that they feel the school could’ve prevented

The bill, one of the first of its kind, was signed into law by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper on June 3. Lawmakers said shifting liability onto schools would make schools safer, but schools refuted that claim, reports the Denver Post.

The lawsuits would be restricted to $350,000 per victim or $900,000 per incident if there are major injuries or deaths and the plaintiff argues the school was negligent.

Schools cannot be found negligent for failing to expel or suspend a student alone. The law also prohibits individual school employees from being sued unless the worker’s “actions or omissions are willful and wanton.”

The law is named after Claire Davis, a victim of a 2013 Colorado school shooting. In that instance the parents argued the school was negligent by failing to punish the eventual shooter when he threatened his debate coach months before he entered the school with a shotgun, machete, ammunition and homemade bombs. The shooter had a history of violent behavior and angry outbursts.

The governor also signed a companion measure that creates a committee of lawmakers to study the ways school safety and threat assessments can be improved in the state.

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