A federal judge issued the stunning decision that police and school officials had no responsibility to shield the children entrusted to their care when they were attacked at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom dismissed the lawsuit from 15 students who survived the massacre.
Defendants included the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, the Broward School District, and school deputy Scot Peterson who did not react to stop the attack as the first responder on the scene.
“The claim arises from the actions of [the attacker], a third party, and not a state actor,” she wrote in the decision.
“Thus, the critical question the Court analyzes is whether defendants had a constitutional duty to protect plaintiffs from the actions of [the shooter],” she explained.
She found that such a responsibility pertained to officials when they had other persons in custody — as with prisoners, or patients in a mental facility. But she said this responsibility does not pertain to students.
The lawsuit specifically excoriated Peterson, who has been roundly criticized on social media, for neglecting to act as the attack continued.
“His arbitrary and conscience-shocking actions and inactions directly and predictably caused children to die,” the lawsuit asserted, “get injured, and get traumatized.”
Kristoffer Budhram, who represented the students in the lawsuit, said in a statement that they disagreed with her decision and indicated that they were considering filing an appeal.
“We respectfully disagree with Judge Bloom’s decision to dismiss our clients’ case,” Budhram said. “This case is about protecting the Constitutional rights of individuals who were the victims of one of the worst mass shootings in this country’s history.”
The state safety commission, organized to investigate the Parkland massacre, announced that they will recommend some teachers be trained and allowed to carry guns in a report to be released in January.
Here’s more about the safety commission’s findings from a local news report: