An elementary school principal is on administrative leave after an unauthorized active shooter drill at an elementary school left young students upset. The incident occurred on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, at a San Gabriel elementary school – Washington Elementary.
The principal, Nina Denson, joined the school recently in the Fall of 2023. According to reports, Denson walked around campus banging on windows and pretending to shoot people that she saw with her fingers saying “Boom, you’re dead.” After the drill, Denson reportedly made an announcement saying that seven children were dead.
Many parents have come forward saying that their young children were distressed. Multiple parents are calling for Denson to be removed from her role as principal and not return to the school; they say that she no longer has the community’s trust.
The school district also made a statement on the matter. Jim Symonds, the superintendent of the San Gabriel Unified School District, stated that the drill with the scenario “is not approved by the district nor a part of [the] district protocol.” The district sent an email to parents stating that “the conduct of the drill [did] not appear to have been in line with District protocols or best practices.”
Reportedly, many staff members were also upset at the way the principal handled the situation. Counselors were on school grounds for students or staff in need of counseling services.
Active shooter drills have become the new norm in our schools because the threat of school shootings is very real. Unfortunately, these are real drills that school-aged children must go through to ensure that they know what to do in case of an active shooter – and to essentially increase their chance of survival. Because this is such a sensitive area, it is essential that districts have strict protocols in place and that principals and other staff follow all protocols exactly.
If you or your student suffered emotional and mental harm associated with this insensitive active shooter drill, you may have the right to file a lawsuit. For more information about the legal options available to you, we urge you to seek legal assistance with the experts here at our law firm as soon as possible. Here at the Downtown L.A. Law Group, our experienced lawyers are ready to provide you with the guidance that you need to fight for your rights and recover the compensation that you are owed.
Emotional and Mental Harm
The fact that the incident above did not have any physical injuries does not make it insignificant. The students and even staff were clearly upset and may find themselves dealing with extensive mental and emotional harm for weeks, months, or even for the rest of their lives. The experience can ultimately lead to different mental and emotional harm, including but not limited to the following:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Increased risk of self-harm
Affected victims might require medical care, including psychological care, psychiatric care, and more. Others might require long-term counseling or therapy to deal with the distress from the incident.
Can I File a Lawsuit against the School District?
Yes, you could have the right to file a lawsuit against the school district. This is because school districts have a duty of care towards their students. They have a duty to keep their students safe. A big part of this is making sure that all district/school employees are subject to background checks, training, supervision, etc. This includes making sure that staff is up to date with all policy and procedures – including protocols for different drills. The principal willfully disregarded the protocol and went through a traumatic drill scenario that affected students and other staff. Based on vicarious liability, the school district could be held accountable for the negligent actions of the principal and could be sued.
Can I Recover Compensation?
You could be eligible to recover compensation. Based on the details surrounding the incident, claimants could be entitled to receive compensation for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and legal fees, for example. Here at our law firm, our legal team is committed to helping our clients recover the maximum payout available for their claims. Whether our team has to negotiate a settlement or take your claim to trial to reach a verdict, you can trust that our team will do everything possible to get our clients the best outcome possible.
Contact the Downtown L.A. Law Group Today
Our legal team is committed to helping our clients get justice and get them the maximum recovery available. If you are ready to explore the legal options available to you, please do not hesitate to seek legal assistance with our experts as soon as possible. Our lawyers have decades of experience and are ready to provide you with the guidance that you need to pursue your claim. We offer free legal services, which include free consultations and free second opinions. During these free legal services, our experts will be available to answer all your questions and address all your concerns – making sure that you have access to all the information that you need to pursue your claim. It does not matter whether you are looking to begin your claim or redirect your claim after starting it elsewhere; our team can help you.
We offer a Zero-Fee Guarantee, so our clients will not be required to pay any upfront legal costs to speak with our lawyers. In addition, our law firm works on a strict contingency structure, meaning that our clients will not be required to pay anything unless their claims are successful. For more information about your legal options, contact us today.