Sandy Hook Parents’ Appeal Focuses on School’s Failure to Lock Down School Before Shooting

sandy hook newtown shooting

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

The parents of two of the children killed in the Sandy Hook shooting sued the city and school district, claiming that the school’s administrators failed to follow security protocols as the shooter began his attack, shooting his way into the school.

The parents claimed that a lockdown order should have been issued when the shooter bypassed a locked door by shooting his way through a window.

In May of last year, a judge dismissed the lawsuit, writing . . .

“In the present case, faculty and staff had to make split-second decisions in the face of an armed gunman and subjecting their decisions to scrutiny, aided by hindsight, would no less serve the public interest than subjecting a police officer’s discretionary decisions to second guessing,” (Superior Court Judge Robin) Wilson wrote.

“Emergencies, by their very nature, are sudden and often rapidly evolving events, and a response can never be 100 percent scripted and directed,” she said.

The parents have appealed that decision and the case will be argued tomorrow. Here’s the AP’s report . . .

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit alleging Sandy Hook Elementary School officials failed to order a lockdown that could have saved lives before a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators in 2012.

The parents of two children killed at the Newtown school are appealing the dismissal of their lawsuit by a trial court judge, who ruled last year that school officials were immune from being sued and security protocols were discretionary.

The parents of Jesse Lewis and Noah Pozner are seeking undisclosed damages and hope the case prompts school officials to follow security procedures during future emergencies. Three judges of the Appellate Court, the state’s second-highest court, will hear arguments Wednesday.

“Children will never be safe in public schools unless the towns can be held accountable when they entirely fail our children by either not having, not implementing or not attempting to prevent imminent harm to our most precious gifts,” said Donald Papcsy, a lawyer for the parents.

Charles DeLuca, a lawyer for the town of Newtown and its school district, has said the shooter, Adam Lanza, was solely responsible for the killings and there is no evidence school officials were at fault in any way.

The lawsuit alleges school Principal Dawn Hochsprung and other officials failed to order a “code blue” lockdown over the intercom, as was directed by security protocols, after hearing the 20-year-old Lanza shoot out the locked glass entrance of the school on the morning of Dec. 14, 2012. Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach were killed and another staff member was wounded when they confronted Lanza in the hallway, authorities said.

If a lockdown had been ordered, the lawsuit says, teachers in the two classrooms where the children were killed may have had time to lock their doors and prevent Lanza from entering.

Lanza killed his mother at their Newtown home before going to the school, where he killed himself as police arrived. The motive remains unclear. Connecticut’s child advocate said Lanza’s severe and deteriorating mental health problems, his preoccupation with violence and access to his mother’s legal weapons “proved a recipe for mass murder.

comments

  1. avatar MB says:

    I feel for them but it’s unlikely they can win. The school administration was unarmed, as the public so chooses. The SCOUS ruled the police are under no obligation to save you or protect you. The police exist to arrest the criminals and draw chalk lines around the victims. I prefer they draw chalk lines around the perpetrator(s). You are responsible for you and yours. Carry a gun everywhere, even in your home.

    1. avatar Bob Jones says:

      The police are Auditors of Wrongdoing and little else. Occasionally an exemplary LEO saves some lives or does in an evil person, but that is not the norm. Don’t expect much from them.

      1. avatar Anymouse says:

        I wouldn’t use “exemplary.” Most cops would try to save lives, but few are at the right place, at the right time, to interfere with an attack. I think the exceptions are the rejects, like Scott Peterson, who are at the right place and time but refuse to take action.

        I question the lockdown training itself. There’s a guy shooting a rifle down the hall and in the next classroom. Do you need a formal announcement or alarm to tell you to lock you’re door? If you see smoke and flames, do you need to wait for the fire alarm to go off before evacuating? At most, he should have gotten one classroom, anybody in the hall, and whatever hits firing blindly through walls. Instead, he was able to hit a classroom, go into the hall, drop a partial magazine, and enter the next classroom with a fresh mag.

  2. avatar Michael says:

    The only accountability warranted in these cases is the placing of a bullet in a useful location in the tangos’ head.-30-

  3. avatar barnbwt says:

    Them’s the breaks. These things can happen if those “guarding” your “most precious gifts” are unarmed & unable to fight back.

    Teachers/staff with guns at the ready, at least a sizeable portion of them male.

  4. avatar st381193 says:

    So if Lanza is solely responsible for his actions, why are guns still being blamed?

    1. avatar sparkyinWI says:

      This^^^^^ And why are other parents suing the mfg of the rifle? So when defending themselves then the shooter is solely responsible. But when attacking our rights then the firearm and mfg are responsible. How disingenuous can one be.

      1. avatar Leighton says:

        They are libs/dems… double standards are mandatory.

    2. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

      Because they feel robbed of justice when that scum blew his brains out. They’re lashing out at everything. Also, being harassed by lunatic conspiracy theorists doesn’t help.

  5. avatar Greg says:

    Hoax made up by the media and Obama.

    1. avatar elsullo says:

      The hoax IS a hoax! It really did happen; the TV cameras showed the damage and the blood, and the grieving families were not “actors.” Just because you read about something hoaxish that you want to believe on the internet does not make it true.

      1. avatar Paul says:

        Can you direct me to the videos because I’ve never seen any pictures of damage and blood. Thanks in advance

      2. avatar Hush says:

        Elsullo: The hoax mentioned by Greg is not about the event occurring, but about the blame laid at the feet of firearm manufacturers. Since then the hoax has expanded to the level of criminalizing anyone who owns a firearm.

        1. avatar Greg says:

          Thank you.

  6. avatar WARFAB says:

    “If a lockdown had been ordered, the lawsuit says, teachers in the two classrooms where the children were killed may have had time to lock their doors and prevent Lanza from entering.”

    This lawsuit is coming closer to the heart of the matter than any lawsuit against Bushmaster. Totally agree that if there isn’t a financial penalty for failing to protect students they will continue to be killed. The sticky part is that if the schools are going to be held liable, sooner or later they’re all going to sober up and have guns and/or armed guards on staff. Lots of parents aren’t going to like that.

  7. avatar Tom Edwards says:

    Depends on which lies you listen to. The doors were locked. He broke window out with Pistol and crawled through. Then went to about center of school and fired first shot! That afternoon they found a AR-15 in car trunk. Said could not get it through the window he crawled through. If he went through window the AR-15 would fit. But said he was armed with pistol and several clips! That eavening he shot everyone with the AR-15. Goes from pistol to AR-15. Which I was in Hospital and was watching. I saw it pulled out of trunk of the car! Why did he shoot his mother with a .22 rifle if he had a AR-15? Said it took several shots to kill her! The .22 was in trunk of the car! I still believe the AR-15 was planted!

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Because he shot her with his .22 and THEN stole her AR ya dingus

    2. avatar V says:

      The gun found in the monster’s trunk was a shotgun, not an AR. The media initially reported it as an AR, but that was only because it was too long to be a .9mm Glock- the only two types of weapons known to the AP.

      There’s aerial footage from when the cops found the gun in the trunk, and you can clearly see them running a right-side, ejection-port charging handle, and clearing a weapon with a large-diameter tube magazine…

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wLrxSgkqJQc

      So when you say “it depends on which lies you listen to”, are you aknowledging that one of those options is the lies you tell, @Tom Edwards?

  8. avatar former water walker says:

    The Pozner guy is quite active in the “blame the AR15” thing. My sympathy evaporated quite awhile ago…in 2013.

  9. avatar WI Patriot says:

    “Sandy Hook Parents’ Appeal Focuses on School’s Failure to Lock Down School Before Shooting”

    It would seem that everyone is responsible EXCEPT the shooter…

  10. avatar Hannibal says:

    Unless you turn schools into literal prisons, a “lockdown” isn’t going to stop a determined attacker.

    Might it have saved lives? Maybe, maybe not. Not going to be actionable though, in part for that reason.

    1. avatar Hush says:

      In golf if a putt does not span the distance to the cup/hole, then the ball does NOT have any chance of going in the cup/hole. Sort of the same thing with firearms, if you don’t have one or others do not have one then you don’t, under some circumstances, have a chance of survival. We will never know how much difference just one armed person could have made and therein lies the fault. Gun free zones and those seeking to disarm law abiding citizens have a share in the blame.

  11. avatar NORDNEG says:

    If I read that right, the gunman SHOT out the window to get in,,, !!! Don’t you think that would be enough to lock the school down & get information to the instructors? I think the school & officials of said school should be held in dereliction if duty…

  12. avatar Eric Comer says:

    So they are suing for what exactly? If the school had bigger “gun free zone” signs, this all would have been prevented. I’m sure no where in the lawsuit do they wish/demand that any staff be armed going forward. But yet here they are, costing the school district and taxpayers money for what? Money? Sad.

    1. avatar Ed Schrade says:

      New gun free zone signs will end with- “anyone carrying a firearm on these school grounds will have to stay after school for a month”.

  13. avatar rt66paul says:

    All of the media and political coverage on school shootings, mass shootings, etc. is designed to change education and make a grab for the land the schools sit on. Their are on line charter schools out there that assist home schoolers in the basics(the curriculum your state requires) and others that teach on line. I foresee this being the norm, right out of 60s and 70s science fiction. This will be much cheaper than keeping and building new schools.
    Kids need to learn where they fall in the pecking order. Locking them at home watching computers even more will change society in ways we can not fathom.

  14. avatar Old Fur Trapper says:

    The sad truth is the parents of those lost also played a part in Lanza’s shooting! After Columbine and VA Tech shootings, they chose to elect polecats that kept the school a “gun free” zone! To this day they have still refused to implement hard defensive measures that would keep any future shooter from entering again! The entrance doors should be bullet proof and self locking. Entrance is by video ID and identification cards. There should be one armed guard at the entrance at all times and a metal scanner in use. Only one entrance can be used to enter. Class doors should be bullet proof. There should be increased video monitoring of all entrances and classrooms. There should be a direct hotline to local police to include voice comms and video feeds. And more teachers trained to carry as well as additional armed resource officers. And last of all, signs declaring the school site is armed and NOT a gun free zone!

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