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New Law Will Making Schools Liable For Violence Named For Claire Davis

DENVER (CBS4/AP) - Legislation to allow lawsuits against Colorado schools when there are shootings or other violence has been signed into law Wednesday by Gov. John Hickenlooper.

The measure is named for Claire Davis, who was killed at Arapahoe High School in 2013. She was shot by a fellow student who then killed himself.

After he signed the Claire Davis School Safety Act, Hickenlooper embraced the teenager's parents, calling them courageous and selfless.

"Claire has made an indelible mark on all our hearts," said Claire's mother Desiree Davis. "We now have a path that will enable all of us to change the direction and the culture in Colorado schools."

CLAIRE DAVIS BILL SIGNING 5
Gov. Hickenlooper hugs Desiree Davis after signing the bill (credit: CBS)

The Davis' believe Arapahoe High School ignored the warning signs in the case of their daughter's killer.

Lawsuits would be limited to $350,000 per victim or $900,000 per incident when there are serious injuries or deaths from violence and the school is accused of negligence.

With the law, Colorado will be among a few states that allow school lawsuits for cases of violence. When children are killed or seriously hurt, the schools could be forced to pay damages. They also must disclose what they knew about the threat and what action was taken.

Claire Davis
Claire Davis (credit: Davis Family)

"These efforts are a clear and important step in the right direction," said Hickenlooper.

Schools opposed the proposal, saying it would increase their insurance liability and not prevent violence.

"School safety and the safety of those kids can no longer be an afterthought," said Sen. Bill Cadman, a Republican representing Colorado Springs.

The law takes effect in 2017.

Hickenlooper also signed a bill that creates a committee that would, among other things, develop criteria for identifying students who may be a threat.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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