TOWNVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) - Parents of children who attended Townville Elementary school claim the shooting that occurred on September 28, 2016 left their children scarred and having thoughts of suicide, according to three lawsuits filed on September 21, 2018.
The three parents argue the Anderson County Sheriff's Office and Anderson County School District 4 didn't do enough to prevent the shooting at the school.
Mary Olsen, Jeff Theis, and Brittany Alewine all filed suits against the school district and sheriff's office with the Dunaway Law Firm, the same firm representing Jacob Hall's family in his wrongful death lawsuit.
Olsen, suing for two children, Theis, suing for two children, and Alewine suing for one child, contend their children have suffered anxiety and depression that will require indefinite treatment, including cognitive behavioral therapy, pharmacotherapy and supportive psychotherapy.
The lawsuits allege the children witnessed Jacob Hall, 6, and their teacher Meghan Hollingsworth being shot. The children, the lawsuit states, are reminded daily of the incident, and have suffered mental injuries that have manifested in physical injury. The physicial symptoms have included weight loss, frequent crying, inability to sleep, difficulty socializing, and difficulty handling stress.
The lawsuits accuse the school district and the sheriff's office of being negligent in not having a definite plan in place to deal with an active shooter situation; not having an "Emergency Action Plan"; by failing to notify parents of the inherent dangers of not having such plans in place; and failing to exercise reasonable care for the well-being of the plaintiffs' children, among other claims.
The lawsuits claim the school was in violation of safety regulations and negligent in failing to safeguard the school's playground, where the shooting occurred.
The lawsuits also allege that Anderson County Emergency Management, a division of the sheriff's office, failed to deliver trauma kits, which contain tourniquets and other medical supplies to help stop massive blood loss, that had been donated by a third party.
The lawsuits call for a jury trial and damages for the alleged negligence; damages for injuries to the children; damages for counseling and related medical costs; for the cost of the trial; and any other relief the jury deems appropriate.
Dr. Joanne Avery, Superintendent of Anderson County School District Four, released this statement Tuesday morning:
"Last evening, a reporter made the district aware that three lawsuits had been filed Friday on behalf of five children who survived the Townville Elementary School shooting of September 28, 2016. As of this morning, the district has yet to be served. This continues to be a tragic situation that resulted in the loss of a child and lives that have been changed forever. We grieve for the loss of Jacob, his family, and all those who are recovering from that traumatic day.
I am unable to comment on the these lawsuits, but ask the public's patience as we work through the legal process. I am proud of the courageous efforts of the leadership and staff at Townville and commend them for the remarkable job they did that day and every day in caring, protecting, and educating our children. There is nothing more important that the safety of our students. We continue to be vigilant in revisiting, reevaluating, and training so to ensure our campuses are safe.
This week marks the 2nd anniversary of this horrific event and I ask you for your thoughts and prayers for the students and staff at Townville Elementary School and the community of Townville."
FOX Carolina has also reached out to the Anderson County Sheriff's Office for comment.
The family of the first grade student who was killed when deputies said a teen gunman opened fire at an Anderson County elementary school in 2016 has filed a lawsuit against the school district and the sheriff’s office, seeking damages for wrongful