LOS ANGELES – Relatives of a 15-year-old boy who was shot in an arm at Highland High School in Palmdale filed a lawsuit on his behalf against the Antelope Valley Union High School District Friday, claiming lax security at the school contributed to the shooting.
Robert Ruiz Dominguez was shot around 7 a.m. May 11 at the school in the 39000 block of 25th Street West. The suspect, a 14-year-old boy described as a former student at the school, was arrested a short time later at a nearby Vons grocery store. The SKS semiautomatic rifle used in the shooting was found abandoned in a nearby field.
The negligence suit was filed Aug. 2 in Los Angeles Superior Court and seeks unspecified damages.
Betsy Sanchez, a district spokeswoman, was on vacation and could not be immediately reached. The district previously issued a statement saying it was thankful no lives were lost and that the student is recovering.
“That said, we acknowledge that the child and his family have been through a traumatic experience and we have offered them our support since the day of the incident and will continue to do so,” according to the district. “We also continue to work with our law enforcement partners to fortify our safety protocols across all our schools.”
Dominguez talked about his ordeal during a news conference in May.
“When I go to school, I would think that I’d be safe and I wouldn’t really expect myself to get shot,” the boy said at the Woodland Hills office of his attorney, Bradley Gage. “But now that I did get shot, I don’t feel like going to any other school, ’cause it happened at one school, it could happen at another.”
Gage said the school did not have a safety plan in place, and the school resource officer assigned to the campus doesn’t start working until 9 a.m., even though students begin arriving at the campus around 6:20 a.m.
But in a letter to district parents in May, AVUHSD Superintendent David Vierra said the district is “continuously reviewing our safety protocols,” and said recent “safety walks” of campuses helped identify potential improvements that will be made at various schools. Those upgrades “include enhanced fencing, additional security personnel, updated surveillance cameras, front entrance modifications and an online visitor entrance systems.”
“Each of our schools has a dedicated school deputy who is on campus each day,” Vierra wrote. “We believe this is important in supporting our security staff. We also have various drills and training for students and staff throughout the school year, and we continue to underscore the importance of vigilance through `See Something, Say Something.’ ”
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