If a city provides a school resource officer for a school, who bears responsibility when that officer is absent and something goes wrong?
A California school district, the Taft Union High School District, says the city is responsible, and it is suing the city of Taft, alleging breach of contract after a student shot another student at the school on Jan. 10, 2013.
According to the police, the assigned school resource officer could not get to the school on the day of the shooting because of severe weather conditions. The interstate had been shut down because of ice and snow and no other officer was sent to the school to take his place, according to Bakersfieldnow.com.
That’s when student Bryan Oliver, then 16, allegedly entered the school with a shotgun and fired on his classmates, according to the Bakersfield Californian.
Student Bowe Cleveland was critically injured in the shooting, and Cleveland’s parents have since sued the district for negligence.
In the lawsuit filed by the Taft Union High School District on New Years’ Eve, but reported this week, the district is alleging that the city breached its contract when it did not send an officer to the school on the day of the shooting. The district is arguing that the shooting could have been prevented if an officer had been present at the school, according to the Bakersfield Californian.
Oliver was charged with two counts of attempted murder, and a retrial is expected to begin later this month. The previous case ended in a mistrial in December.
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.