Responding to School Violence: An Analysis of Legal Remedies

Damon D. Camp, Georgia State University
Robert R. Friedmann, Georgia State University
Kimberly Martin, Georgia State University
Christine Gonzales, Georgia State University
Sarah Eschholz, Georgia State University

Recent events, such as the tragedy at Columbine, have focused much attention on the problem of school violence and various ways society is responding to that violence. Both the federal and state governments have responded by introducing a variety of legislation and funding programs aimed at increasing security, improving school climates, and providing prevention programs. In addition, various legal remedies have been sought against schools and school personnel, perpetrators, parents and law enforcement. After providing a brief overview of the state of the problem and various programs and initiatives in operation by 2001, the history of school civil liability will be reviewed. In addition, the extent of school-related violence will be examined in general and specific, selected shootings will be analyzed in more detail. Finally, the status of current litigation related to 14 selected shooting cases will be detailed. The research conducted here indicates that while school violence may be on the rise, litigation against school personnel has been negligible and lawsuits against peripheral agencies, such as law enforcement, are non-existent.

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Updated 05/20/2006