Preparedness

Before Deadly South Carolina School Shooting, Life-Saving Kits Not Given to Teachers, Lawsuit Says

The kits were were not delivered to any schools until after the shooting, two years after they were donated.

by Teddy Kulmala, The State (Columbia, S.C.) / August 29, 2018
Renae Hall, right, mother of Jacob Hall, reacts as her son is placed into a hearse during a superhero-themed funeral service for Jacob Hall at Oakdale Baptist Church on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, in Townville, S.C. A 14-year-old boy killed his own father, then drove to Townville Elementary and fired on two children and a teacher as recess began. AP/Rainier Ehrhardt

(TNS) — Free life-saving trauma kits were donated to a South Carolina school district before the 2016 shooting that killed a 6-year-old boy there, but the kits were never delivered to school employees, a lawsuit filed by the boy’s estate alleges.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed in Anderson County Circuit Court by the estate of 6-year-old Jacob Hall, who died after the September 2016 shooting at Townville Elementary School that injured another student and a teacher. Named as defendants are Anderson School District 4 and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.

In early 2014, a company called Tactical Medical Solutions offered to provide bleeding-control trauma kits — also known as “Stop the Bleed” kits — along with training on how to use the kits, to each Anderson County school district, according to the complaint. The company’s co-owner presented the kits to the district superintendents and Taylor Jones, director of Anderson County Emergency Management.

The kits were left in Jones’ custody but were not delivered to any Anderson County schools until after the Townville shooting, two years after they were donated, the complaint states. That information was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Jacob’s estate.

Additionally, the lawsuit accuses the school district and sheriff’s office of not having a safety or evacuation plan in place for an event like a shooting. When the gunman opened fire on the playground, panicked students and teachers were left trying to get back into the school’s locked doors, according to the suit.

“There was absolutely no safety or default reverse evacuation plan in place for this type of event and it remains to be seen if any of the training the school and staff did have was more harmful than helpful,” the complaint reads. “At the time of the shooting, dozens of students were out on the school playground and fully vulnerable to the shooter who was allowed to walk around the school grounds for more than (11) minutes prior to being apprehended by a volunteer firefighter.”

Jacob was shot in the leg and suffered “a tremendous amount of blood loss” before being airlifted to a hospital, but teachers and the school nurse had only a scarf and paper towels to try to stop the bleeding, according to the lawsuit. The bullet that hit Jacob severed his femoral artery, The Greenville News reported after his death.

A spokesman for the sheriff’s office could not be reached Tuesday. The agency on Monday told WYFF: “The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office has recently been served with the lawsuit. We are presently securing legal counsel to represent the Sheriff’s Office in this matter.”

A school district spokesperson could not immediately be reached Tuesday.

“It is important to me as superintendent that students, parents and the community know that safety is our number-one priority,” Anderson 4 superintendent Joanne Avery said Tuesday, according to the Anderson Independent-Mail. “It was before Sept. 28, 2016, on the day of Sept. 28, 2016 and each and every day after. Every person in Anderson 4 is committed to the care and safety of our students, including the staff at Townville. The staff and students at Townville were faced with a horrific situation and should be commended for their brave efforts.”

The accused gunman, who was 14 years old at the time of the shooting, is charged as an adult with two counts of murder. Officials said he fatally shot his father at their home not far from the school before driving to the school and opening fire on the playground.

Hall’s estate in April filed a lawsuit against the 10th Circuit Solicitor’s Office alleging that the office did not turn over a copy of the accused shooter’s file requested under the Freedom of Information Act. That case remains pending, court records show.

———

©2018 The State (Columbia, S.C.)

Visit The State (Columbia, S.C.) at www.thestate.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.