Parents of Great Mills High School Shooting Victim Sue District

The lawsuit claims Jaelynn Willey’s ex-boyfriend repeatedly pushed, grabbed and yelled at her in front of school personnel.

Parents of Great Mills High School Shooting Victim Sue District

The parents of a 16-year-old girl who was shot and killed at Great Mills High School by her ex-boyfriend have filed a lawsuit, claiming the Maryland district failed to protect their daughter.

Jaelynn Willey and 14-year-old Desmond Barnes were shot by 17-year-old Austin Wyatt Rollins before classes started on March 20, 2018. Barnes survived but Willey died two days later after being taken off life support.

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed Friday against St. Mary’s County school system by Melissa and Daniel Willey, claims the district should have done more to protect Willey and other students, reports The Baltimore Sun.

“In this matter, there were warning signs the school chose to ignore and the family seeks to hold the school responsible for this failure on behalf of their daughter,” said Lauren Geisser, a lawyer for the Willey family.

After Willey broke up with Rollins, he stalked her during school, including texting her friends and waiting for her outside her classrooms and her car. The school should have foreseen that Rollins “would continue his attacks and would increase or escalate his violence,” reads the lawsuit.

Rollins also repeatedly grabbed, pushed and yelled at Willey in front of school personnel in the two months prior to her death, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also claims the family reported his behavior to their daughter’s swim coach, indicating they were afraid for her safety.

The lawsuit contends the school system did not take the proper steps to prevent violence, such as using handheld metal detectors on students, hiring enough school resource officers, or disciplining Rollins, who had a “significant history of violence,” including threats to shoot a gun inside the school.

The lawsuit also further alleges a threat of school violence was made a month before the shooting and the school only put additional security in place for that day. It did not specify who made the threat, according to WTOP.

Additionally, less than 24 hours before the shooting that killed Willey, another threat of mass violence was made. The school had surveillance cameras and metal detector wands but did not use them following the incident, the lawsuit says.

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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2 responses to “Parents of Great Mills High School Shooting Victim Sue District”

  1. […] who was shot and killed at a school in St. Mary County have filed a lawsuit, claiming the educators failed to take proper steps to prevent violence.  The lawsuit claims that the shooter had a “significant history of […]


    As sad as this story is, there is some information missing. Most important, did the school staff do anything after the complaints were lodged against the male student? If they were ignored, I get the action. If the District did react, in a sensical way, I do not understand the action. There is only so much any District can do about things outside of both property and time.
    Was a complaint filed with the police against the boy by the girl or her parents?

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