After almost four years since the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSDHS) in Broward County, the school district reached a $25 million settlement on Monday with the families of 52 people who were killed, injured, or traumatized during the tragic event.
The shooting, which happened in February 2018 when an ex-student open-fired on his former classmates, resulted in 17 people with injuries and the death of 14 students and three faculty members.
Families involved in the lawsuit argued that Broward County School District’s negligence was to blame for the shooting. In addition, the families are suing former MSDHS Resource Officer Scot Peterson, who waited outside the school and did not intervene with the shooter after hearing gunfire in the building.
Andrew Pollack, father of Meadow Pollack, an 18-year-old student who was killed, is involved in both the settlement and the lawsuit against Peterson. On Monday, he told CBS Miami that he was not focused on the money and that it was hard to talk about.
“In a situation like this where your daughter was murdered, there is no [amount of] money that could ever make you feel better, no matter what the settlement is. It wasn’t my main focus,” said Pollack.
According to CBS Miami, attorney for the parents, David Brill said, “There’s no amount of money in existence that would compensate the many victims adequately, but given the circumstances of this particular case and the fact that the school board is a sovereign immune entity, this is a fair and remarkable settlement.”
He added that even if the families are not focused on the money, the settlement represents “a modicum of accountability and justice.”
As reported by The Florida Capital Star in August, the Florida Supreme Court previously ruled a school board liability may not exceed $300,000. In addition, the ruling stated that the Parkland shooting should be viewed as a single incident rather than each shot taken by the assailant being a separate incident.
The same Capital Star report highlights a bill filed by Florida State Senator Joe Gruters (R-23), that directed the Broward County School Board to pay out the $25 million settlement.
While the exact amounts of the payments are not yet clear, larger payments will be allocated to families whose student or family member died, while other allocations will be tiered based on injury then trauma.
The shooter, Nicholas Cruz, is set to plead guilty on Wednesday to 17 counts of first-degree murder and will await sentencing. The death penalty or life without parole are still on the table after his attorneys failed to reach a deal that would have avoided them, according to the AP.
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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Money” by SCR3AMFR3AK. Photo “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School” by Talk Media. CC BY 2.0.