Parents of Student Killed at STEM School Highlands Ranch File Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Three other families, including that of a student who rushed the gunman at the school in suburban Denver, have also filed suit in the wake of their kids’ psychological injuries.
- By Haley Samsel
- January 09, 2020
The parents of the student killed at STEM School Highlands Ranch last May in the suburbs of Denver are suing the school for financial compensation, arguing that administrators should have acted on signs that students were planning a shooting.
Kendrick Castillo, 18, was killed while trying to stop one of the shooters, who injured eight others. Three other families have also filed suit against the district, according to the Denver Post, which obtained the suits filed in November and October.
The families include that of Brendan Bialy, who completed his Marine training this September but said he had to step away to deal with psychological issues as a result of the shooting. Bialy was not physically injured after helping to rush the gunman.
While the other two families’ children did not come into direct contact with the shooters, the suits claim that the kids have suffered nightmares and flashbacks after hearing gunshots at school.
The Castillos want at least $500,000 for wrongful death and other damages, while Bialy is seeking $1 million for lost earnings potential and psychological injuries, according to the Post.
In the Castillo lawsuit, the family alleges that the school did not adequately respond to a parent warning about the risk of a shooting or to disturbing edits made to the STEM School’s Wikipedia page in the days before the tragedy that alluded to a shooting. An unnamed person changed a line about the school’s suicide and violence prevention programs to add, “Do they work? We shall see.”
“I hope that whatever is discovered [through the legal process] will make our community’s schools and churches safer,” said Kendrick’s father, John Castillo.
Bialy’s lawsuit includes the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, which he alleges failed to protect the school. STEM School did not have a school resource officer due to conflict between the department and the school over what duties the officer should perform, the Post reported.
The other legal claims from parents of children who were not directly involved in the shooting are asking for compensation for the medical treatment their kids have sought in the wake of the trauma.
Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.