Is a School Legally Liable Under Florida Law for a Shooting? (Tragic Death Reported on School Bus – Palm Glades Preparatory Academy)


In Florida and other States, children are the unfortunate victims of shootings at schools, shopping malls, homes, and, most recently, while riding a school bus. CBS News and other stations and news outlets reported that Lourdes Guzman-DeJesus was shot by another student while on a school bus for the Palm Glades Preparatory Academy. It was a tragic and unexpected death for the family, school mates, and the community. See Parents Stunned by Shooting on Florida School Bus.

When a death or serious personal injury takes place during a school activity or function or during school transportation, there may be a case to pursue for the damages resulting from the incident. The key word in the last sentence is “may”. In other words, it is possible to pursue a case or claim depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident. Under Florida law, a school or day care center is not liable for every incident causing injury or death while a child is under the supervision or care of the school or day care center. However, a school or day care center is liable if the incident was caused by the negligence of school employees. If the incident was foreseeable and preventable to some extent, then a legal case or claim may be pursued. When there is a gun involved, the owner of the gun may be held criminally or civilly responsible if the gun owner failed to lock up or otherwise secure the gun from the use or access of children. When there is a a shooting at a school or day care center, the following questions may be part of an investigation regarding a potential criminal case against the shooter and / or civil case against the school or day care center.

Who was the owner of the gun involved in the shooting?

How did the child access or get use of the gun involved in the shooting?

Did the school have a prior problem or issue with children brining guns or weapons into the school?

Was there an issue with attacks or violence at the school or on the bus in the past?

Did the school or school district have policies / procedures in effect that were not followed prior to the shooting incident?

Did the shooter have prior problems at the school as to behavior, violence, or threats?

How long did the student have the gun on the bus? at the school?

What level of supervision was provided at the school? on the bus?

When a child dies or suffers a personal injury, a parent is often times faced with many challenges and issues. It is often helpful to have the support of family, friends, church, and the community during these trying times. A Florida Child Injury Lawyer can also provide some piece of mind as well to provide the parent with information as to the legal rights of the child and parent and the applicable laws in place that may apply to the incident at issue. The book – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on School Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury. Another helpful resource for parents is the book – <strong>When a Parent’s World Goes from Full to Empty – The Wrongful Death of a Child – What You Need to Know About The Florida Wrongful Death Act. You can get this book for free at From Full to Empty.

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