Castle Rock, CO

Castillo family settles wrongful death suit with DougCo schools, continues case against STEM school

Suzie Glassman
Photo byCBS Denver

By: Suzie Glassman/NewsBreak Denver

(Castle Rock, CO) The parents of Kendrick Castillo, who died while heroically protecting his classmates from a shooter at STEM School Highlands Ranch in 2019, resolved their wrongful death claim against the DougCo school district but will continue their case against the school.

“The Castillos (John and Maria) have reached an agreement to resolve their claims against the Douglas County School District,” said the Castillos’ counsel Dan Caplis Law in an email.

“Just as the Castillos have not asked STEM to pay money to settle this case, the Castillos did not ask DCSD to pay money to settle. They only asked DCSD to agree that important testimony and documents obtained through the lawsuit could be made public, and DCSD has agreed to that.”

According to the statement, “John and Maria have made it their mission to do everything in their power to protect others by making sure that all of the lessons learned from the slaughter at STEM are uncovered and made public.”

The Castillos’ lawsuit alleges that STEM failed to protect students and staff from violence that is “reasonably foreseeable,” through the Claire Davis School Safety Act.

The act, which passed after Claire Davis died in a shooting at Arapahoe High School in 2013, allowed the Castillos’ attorneys to take more than 20 depositions of school officials and others and to obtain thousands of pages of important documents.

“John and Maria have personally attended every deposition. They are determined to find and make public the full truth in order to protect others,” said Dan Caplis Law.

According to court documents, STEM was on “both general and specific notice of the fact that one or more shooters might attack the school” and that STEM failed to take all the reasonable steps necessary to protect the school and its students from that serious risk.

The case documents also allege that “in the face of that risk, STEM subverted and weakened the professionally trained and armed School Resource Officer, thereby undermining the deterrent effect of having an armed SRO within the school and allowing the potential shooters to believe they would be able to execute their initial attack without armed or other formal law enforcement resistance.”

Kendrick Castillo was three days away from graduating when he sacrificed his life to stop a mass shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch.

“John and Maria look forward to presenting their case against STEM School Highlands Ranch to a jury. They strongly believe that a public trial of their claims against STEM will make Colorado schools safer,” said the Castillos’ attorney.

NewsBreak reached out to the lawyers representing DougCo schools and received an out-of-office notice.

A jury trial will begin on February 27, 2023.

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Denver, CO

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