Arapahoe High School Shooting

Littleton Public Schools, Claire Davis' family to enter arbitration


The Littleton Public Schools Board of Education unanimously agreed on April 2 to give the Davis family all the information it can about the circumstances surrounding the death of their daughter, Claire.

"This will be the next of many steps already taken in the last 15 months to examine and improve processes and procedures," said Jack Reutzel, board president. "We have already implemented changes in the district as a result of the tragedy, and we continue to want to learn how the district can make meaningful and thoughtful improvements for the benefit of all students."

While the Davis family was not in attendance, they offered a quote for the official LPS statement.

"We've developed a process that meets our shared goal of making schools safer," said Michael Davis, Claire's father. "We very much appreciate LPS' willingness to partner with us."

In a separate statement issued through their spokesperson, Katy Atkinson, the family reiterated support for two bills pending in the state Legislature, which could be heard on the floor as early as next week. The first provides a narrow definition of the circumstances in which a suit can be brought against a school for breaching its responsibility to keep students safe, and sets a cap on the damages that can be recovered. The second would create a permanent committee on school safety and mental health and charge it with examining ways to improve how schools and the mental-health system deal with troubled youths.

"Without the full picture, no one can adequately address the underlying problems that could lead to yet another tragedy like this," reads the family's statement.

As part of the agreement, the Davises agree not to sue the district and waive their right to seek damages - meaning no financial settlement.

"This isn't about the money, it never has been for the Davises," their attorney, Michael Rooche, said in a press conference outside the LPS administration building after the vote. "The Davises are not interested in assigning blame."

A small group of community members, who each said they don't currently have children in the district, gathered in front of the microphones in support of the Davis family. Lori Horn said both her children knew Karl Pierson, who killed Claire before taking his own life inside Arapahoe High School on Dec. 13, 2013.

"I have to say, I was disappointed in the school board ... for hiding behind the sheriff's office investigation," said Horn, who was the campaign manager for the four reform candidates in the 2013 Douglas County School Board race.

Asked about the timing of the action, 15 months after Claire's death, Rooche said they wanted to wait until after the sheriff's final report, which was released six months ago and found no criminal wrongdoing on the part of the school district.

"These things just take time," he said.

Representatives from LPS and the family will meet with an arbiter beginning after June 1 and continuing over the summer. They hope to wrap things up before students return to school next fall, or at least by Oct. 1. The district will pay all expenses up to $25,000, after which the parties will split all costs.

The district agreed not to invoke governmental immunity, and has waived some federal protections of Karl Pierson's records.

While the agreement recommends the two parties jointly issue a public report, it allows either party to do so on its own 45 days after the end of the process. All information released during the discovery process will be available to the public.

"The agreement ... creates a process that meets our goal of being investigative, not accusatory, in discovering how the tragedy on December 13, 2013 happened," reads the Davis family's statement.


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