A federal appeals court has revived a civil lawsuit filed against a Tennessee district stemming from a 2016 school bus crash that killed six elementary students and injured numerous others.
The panel held that the Hamilton County school system may be liable on a theory that the principal violated students’ right to be free from bodily harm by requiring them to ride the bus each day with a driver who had been the subject of multiple dangerous driving complaints.
The Woodmore Elementary School students were killed when, prosecutors said, Johnthony Walker was speeding and using his cell phone, and lost control of his bus.
The appellate court ruled that the victims may pursue a claim based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision, that found a school district or other municipal body may be held liable for the acts of an employee if there was an official policy that led to the dangerous situation or if there were a clear and consistent pattern of unconstitutional acts by the employee.
A version of this article appeared in the November 14, 2018 edition of Education Week as Court Revives Lawsuit Against District Over Fatal Bus Crash in Tennessee