He Ditched School and Ended Up Dead. The Courts Are Deciding Whether the School Shares the Blame.
(INDIANAPOLIS) - The murder of an Indianapolis teenager has led to an Indiana Supreme Court battle over whether the school system shares the blame.
Jaylan Murray's family sued the Indianapolis Public Schools for not keeping an eye on him. He checked in at the front office at Arlington High School, but was in the building less than 20 minutes before walking out a side door and leaving without anyone noticing. in the middle of the school day without anyone noticing. Two hours later, he was shot to death at an apartment complex a half-mile away.
Murray's family argues schools have a duty to protect students when they're on campus, and says Arlington should have known Murray was a chronic runaway and been extra vigilant. But IPS attorneys argue whether the school has a duty to its students is irrelevant, because state law and past cases give the schools immunity from being sued for day-to-day decisions, even bad ones. Attorney Zachary Stock argues the law deliberately sets a nearly insurmountable barrier, or government entities could be second-guessed about everything they do or don't choose to spend money or time on. He points to a case in which a city animal control department knew about a vicious dog on the loose but didn't go after it. While that may be government doing a bad job for its citizens, Stock says, the court ruled the city couldn't be sued.
And IPS argues a police report claimed the reason Murray ditched school was to buy a gun. Attorneys argue the school isn't responsible if someone gets hurt committing a felony.
A Marion County judge agreed with the school district, but a 2-1 Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the family could take its case to a jury. As always, there's no indication when the Supreme Court will rule.
(Photo: Ashley Fowler/WIBC)