The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District and its police dept. face a class action over the “conduct and omissions” of the city and law enforcement during the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022.
The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) and its police department face a proposed class action lawsuit filed on behalf of those who sustained emotional and psychological damages as a result of the “conduct and omissions” of the Texas city and law enforcement during the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022.
According to the 59-page complaint filed on November 29 in Austin federal court, the police department employed by the UCISD, along with “similarly trained” law enforcement from Uvalde’s police department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the San Antonio Police Department’s SWAT unit and members of the Uvalde Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “fundamentally strayed from conducting themselves” in accordance with “what they knew to be the well-established protocols and standards for responding to an active shooter.”
In addition, the case charges that compliance with safety protocols and physical conditions at Robb Elementary was “more than deficient.” Per the complaint, the school’s five-foot-tall exterior fence amounted to an “Achille’s heel” in protecting against a would-be intruder, and its emergency warning system was “significantly compromised” by a poor internet connection.
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As a result of the school’s safety shortcomings and law enforcement’s “abject failure” to properly and timely react as an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers in adjoining classrooms and wounded 17 others, survivors and their families “will now be forced to endure the indelible and forever-lasting trauma” that the defendants “immeasurably caused and amplified” through their “contemptible and flagrant” failure to take the proper course of action, the lawsuit says.
According to CNN, the proposed class action, at least the third complaint filed over the second-deadliest shooting at a K-12 school in United States history, seeks $27 billion in damages.
The case states that law enforcement and school districts “have been forced to reckon” with an exponential rise in mass shootings in the U.S., in schools, bars, supermarkets and elsewhere. Although this reckoning has created certain standards of care and protocols that provide school districts and law enforcement with “predetermined and vetted courses of action” that should lead to a “swift, automatic, and highly organized response” in the event of a mass shooting, these measures are only effective “if and when their dictates and tenets are complied with,” the filing scathes.
Despite the fact that active-shooter protocols were well in place as of May 24, the Uvalde school district and local and federal law enforcement were “woefully in breach” of these protocols as the shooting began, the complaint says.
Instead of executing an “organized and concerted response” as an active shooter breached the otherwise “secured” buildings at Robb Elementary, the 376 law enforcement officials who responded fell “exceedingly short” of their training and duty, allowing an “exhaustively torturous” 77 minutes of “indecision, dysfunction, and harm” to transpire, the lawsuit alleges.
According to the case, the danger posed to the lives, health and safety of proposed class members was “exponentially increased” during the shooting on account of the defendants’ refusal and failure to comply with mandated state and UCISD protocols for responding to an active shooter.
The complaint asks the court to “do its part in providing the framework for redressing the harms that no amount of money nor forgiveness can ever absolve.”
The lawsuit looks to represent students, teachers and support staff who were located within the perimeter of Robb Elementary School’s campus on May 24, 2022 and the students’ parents, regardless of their location on that date.
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