CENTENNIAL, Colo. — If Littleton Public Schools makes public everything it knows about the 2013 murder of student Claire Davis, the victim’s family will agree never to file a lawsuit against the district — no matter what information comes to light.
That’s the deal Claire’s father Michael Davis put forth in a proposal on Monday, according to a media release from the family.
Since Claire Davis was fatally wounded by Arapahoe High School classmate Karl Pierson in December of 2013, various parties have raised concerns and accusations that school officials failed to act on warning signs that Pierson was dangerous. Apparently concerned about potential lawsuits and negative publicity, the district has resisted efforts by the media and worried parents — including Claire’s — to learn more about what the school knew leading up to the attack.
It is known that school files identified Pierson as a potential threat. In one document, administrators said Pierson had the emotional capacity to carry out a plan to kill a teacher with whom he was upset, but determined that he had no access to weapons. He was never suspended for threatening the teacher.
Under the new deal proposed by Michael Davis, Claire’s family would sign a binding agreement to never seek any sort of damages against the district or its staff, no matter what information emerges in the case.
In return, the Davis family asks LPS to join an arbitration proceeding before a senior arbitrator at the Judicial Arbiter Group. In that proceeding, the district would waive its various forms of governmental immunity and make all relevant records and employees available for discovery, with some allowances for protecting personal privacy.
The proceeding would not include a trial or any determination of responsibility.
Notably, any information to come out of the proceeding would be made available to “the public, the media, the Arapahoe County Sheriff, any professional engaged to study the shooting at AHS, as well as to the standing committee on school safety to be established by the pending legislative proposals,” the release states.
Davis is asking that the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education consider his proposal at their next regular meeting, set for Thursday.
Here are the terms of the proposal:
Davis Family Proposal to LPS for Open Discovery and Waiver of Damages
1. The Davis family will enter into a binding agreement with LPS not to file suit against LPS, and will forever waive their right to seek damages from LPS, its administrators, teachers and employees for any claims relating to the murder of their daughter Claire Davis.
2. The Davis family and LPS will jointly initiate an arbitration proceeding before a senior arbitrator at the Judicial Arbiter Group (JAG). LPS will pay any arbiters’ fees charged by JAG.
3. LPS agrees not to invoke governmental immunity as a defense to the proceeding before JAG.
4. Both the Davis family and LPS will be entitled to pursue full discovery in the JAG proceeding as permitted under the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure. This will include depositions, subpoenae, interrogatories, document requests, and Requests for Admission. This will specifically include subpoena power over, and the right to conduct discovery of third parties. JAG will resolve any discovery disputes.
5. Discovery and all other proceedings shall be public. Exceptions may be made for personally identifiable information. LPS will agree not to invoke the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to avoid answering any discovery requests, except to redact personally identifying information about current or former students. As a deceased former student, Karl Pierson’s educational records are not protected by FERPA.
6. Upon the Davises’ request, LPS will take reasonable steps to seek the consent of any current or former students to release relevant information that may otherwise be protected from disclosure by FERPA.
7. LPS will make all current LPS teachers, staff, administrators and other employees available for discovery without need of subpoena. LPS will ensure that no reprisals occur based on such persons’ cooperation with these proceedings. LPS will also ensure that no reprisals occur against current or former students, or their families as a result of their cooperation with these proceedings.
8. LPS, and its administrators, teachers and other personnel will act to preserve any and all documents, electronic communications, emails and other information that have any bearing on the shooting that occurred on December 13, 2013, or on communications between LPS and/or Arapahoe High School personnel and Karl Pierson and/or his parents.
9. No trial will occur, and JAG will not be asked to make any findings or conclusions.
10. All information and discovery performed may be made available to the public, the press, the Arapahoe County Sheriff, any professional engaged to study the shooting at AHS, as well as to the standing committee on school safety to be established by the pending legislative proposals.
11. Both Davises and LPS may release their own reports and conclusions based on the evidence gathered through the JAG proceeding.