School Employees Blame District for ‘Prop Gun’ Death

ST.GEORGE, Utah

A Deseret Hills High School vice principal and drama teacher have asked a federal judge to drop several claims against them, stating their employer – the school district – should be held accountable for the death of a 15-year-old student.

Tucker Thayer was killed in November 2008 after a “prop” gun used for a school play discharged a blank bullet at the boy’s head. The two school employees say they are protected from claims of negligence under the Utah Governmental Immunity Act.

Deseret Hills High School Vice Principal Robert Goulding and theater teacher Michael Eaton are fighting a claim that they violated a criminal statute by providing a handgun to a minor, reports The Salt Lake Tribune.

Thayer’s parents claim the pair violated a safety plan for using the .38-caliber revolver several weeks before the teen’s death. Nine claims were brought against Goulding and Eaton, according to the report. Seven allege negligence while one alleges violation of the misdemeanor statute.

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