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School District Responds To Lawsuit By Parents Of Jaelynn Willey, Teen Killed In Great Mills High School Shooting

GREAT MILLS, MD. (WJZ) — The parents of a teenager killed at Great Mills High School in March 2018 are now suing the school.

16-year-old Jaelynn Willey was shot by her ex-boyfriend who then turned the gun on himself. The lawsuit, filed Friday, states the school had a responsibility to protect Willey and that it failed to do so.

Police said Austin Rollins used a semi-automatic handgun to shoot his ex-girlfriend and another 14-year-old boy in a first-floor hallway at Great Mills High School in St. Mary's County.

He then turned the gun on himself.

"To the Willey family, this is about justice for their daughter, about holding the school responsible and about creating change to prevent this from happening again." said Lauren Geisser, the Willey family's attorney.

Geisser said in the months leading up to the shooting, Rollins began physically assaulting and stalking Willey at school and at home. The lawsuit alleges that Willey's parents expressed their concerns to Jaelynn's swim coach.

"As a person that is in a 'loco parantus capacity' somebody that takes responsibility to a child, when that is reported, they have an obligation to escalate that to school administration and take immediate action." Geisser said.

WJZ reached out to the St. Mary's County School District which said the entire school mourns the loss of Jaelynn Willey.

"However, the contention that school staff could have somehow prevented this tragedy is incorrect. The school system has worked closely with the Sheriff's Department and the Maryland Center for School Safety, and there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that any employee of the St. Mary's County Public Schools had any reason to foresee the tragic shooting that took place at Great Mills High School on March 20, 2018." The school system said.

The school district added it will continue to support the Willey family in any way that it can. Meanwhile, Jaelynn's parents said they're filing this lawsuit so that no other family has to go through something similar.

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