LITTLETON - The family of Claire Davis, the student killed by a fellow student at Arapahoe High School, has been frustrated by their inability to get answers about the incident from Littleton Public Schools.
The district's school board voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to approve a proposal from the Davis family to share details about the shooting and the history of the shooter without a lawsuit.
Under the agreement, the family and school district will enter into "an investigatory arbitration proceeding" moderated by a third party "to discover and report on the facts and circumstances leading up to the day of the shooting at Arapahoe High School on December 13, 2013," as well as the district's response to the tragedy.
The agreement places special emphasis on lessons that can be learned from the incident and implemented as policy changes.
The family will not seek monetary damages as part of the agreement, but the district will pay any arbitrator's fees. The district also agreed not to invoke governmental immunity at any point in the proceedings.
The agreement also specifies that a report of the findings will be released to the public after the process concludes, either as a joint report or as two separate reports from each side.
The district has repeatedly ignored requests from 9NEWS to share more details about the shooting, in which the attacker also killed himself, and the circumstances leading up to it.
Ironically, the district may have secured itself a better outcome by declining to provide the family with information until now.
As a term of the agreement, the Davis family agreed not to sue the district.
The family has been working with state lawmakers on a bill that would allow lawsuits to be brought against school districts.
That measure would impose a cap on monetary damages, in addition to opening up some of the same evidence as the agreement with the school district does.
The Davis family said in a written statement that it still wants to see state lawmakers pass bills this year to open up school districts to more transparency after attacks, writing:
The agreement we signed today with Littleton Public Schools creates a process that meets our goal of being investigative, not accusatory, in discovering how the tragedy on December 13, 2013 happened. We appreciate LPS' willingness to help not only our family, but also all LPS families and the community at large to get a full picture of the events surrounding the December 13. 2013 shooting that took our beautiful daughter's life. Without the full picture, no one can adequately address the underlying problems that could lead to yet another tragedy like this.
We'd also like to reiterate our unwavering support for SB 213 and SB 214, two measures that will go a long way toward making our schools safer. Despite the unique agreement signed today, passage of SB 213 and 214 remains a top priority of us, because those bills provide important tools and incentives to make schools safer for all children. Colorado law needs to recognize that schools have a responsibility to keep students, faculty and staff safe from reasonably foreseeable acts of violence within school facilities and at school-sponsored events. We pray that no parent ever has to go through what we've experienced, but if a similar tragedy occurs in the future, the effected families deserve to have the tools provided in SB 213.
We also believe that the ongoing focus on student safety and youth mental health provided in SB 214 will ensure that meaningful improvements will be implemented, and we anticipate that the outcome of the arbitrated discovery process with LPS will become an important informative document for the legislative committee that we hope to see created through SB 214. We see these two pieces of legislation as not only honoring the legacy of our daughter, Claire, but also an essential step that will help keep kids safe in our public schools.
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