SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. --- A lawsuit claims the Marysville School District could have done more to prevent the murder-suicide at Marysville Pilchuck High School that took the lives of 5 students in 2014.
The case hinges on a substitute teacher’s claim that she reported the possible shooting to the school.
Families of the victims filed the lawsuit this week against the district and the father of the shooter.
They believe the district failed to take reasonable steps and precautions to provide safety for the students the day of the shooting.
A substitute teacher says a student told her about rumors of a shooting the day before Jaylen Fryberg shot five of his friends.
“He came up to me and said, 'Mrs. Cooper I know there is going to be a shooting tomorrow' and I said what? And he said, 'You may have heard about it... the kids are using their cell phones. it's coming up' and he said that somebody by the name of Fryberg was going to bring a gun to school. And there would be a shooting in the cafeteria,” said substitute teacher Rosemary Cooper in September when she spoke to a Q13 News.
Cooper claims she reported the information to the school’s front office. However; the school district says they couldn’t find any evidence she reported it, and police say Cooper later recanted her story.
A statement released by the school district’s attorney, Pat Buchanan, said, “In short, the SMART team did not uncover any evidence to substantiate Ms. Cooper. Further, in light of the fact that Ms. Cooper later admitted she was confused and unsure of the information she received and reported, there is no basis for the complaint or lawsuit against the district. Blaming the district for this tragedy is misplaced.”
In October 2014, Jaylen Fryberg used his dad’s gun to shoot five of his friends, killing four of them, before shooting and killing himself.
Jaylen’s father, Raymond Fryberg, is serving two years in prison for illegally having those firearms.
The lawsuit comes two months after a claim had been filed against the school district and the shooter’s father seeking $110 million in damages.
The school district denied that claim, which led to this lawsuit.
The lawsuit does not list how much money the families are seeking but the school district believes the legal system will reveal that they are not to blame.