Student stabbed at school awarded $1.3 million
SNOHOMISH, Wash, -- April Lutz wants to move on, but first the eleventh grader had to relive her Snohomish High School horror for a jury.
"I went to school that day thinking, 'Oh, I'm safe,' and that wasn't the case," said Lutz.
April and her best friend headed into a school restroom before the first bell in October of 2011. A troubled teen wearing a hoodie followed them. The friends brushed their teeth and suddenly the mentally unstable classmate came out of the stall and stabbed Lutz more than 20 times and her friend twice.
April is now 17-years old and says she still suffers. Her scarred leg hurts, her rib cage aches. And she doesn't like to go out alone.
"I can't really go in crowds anymore. I can't go to a public bathroom on my own," she said.
The victims' families sued the Snohomish School District for negligence, and on Tuesday a jury verdict awarded them $1.3 million. Sue Lutz says the money from the school will help cover her daughter's education.
"There's not enough money for what she's gone through. To me, she died three times," she said.
April's attorney Sim Osborn says the attack was predictable. He says the school knew the troubled teen's mental history and that she'd been suspended previously for threatening another student. Osborn said she told a counselor.
"She had thoughts about harming people she loved and not just getting and gun and killing them but sick, twisted ways," he said.
Osborn said sometimes you have to hit schools in the pocketbook to make changes in how they protect students.
The Snohomish School District released a statement saying, "We trusted the judicial process, and the jury has made its decision. With this verdict we will move on. We continually look for ways we can improve the safety and conditions on our campuses, in our schools, and in our classrooms."
April's father Randy Lutz said, "I have nothing good to say about the school." His daughter, however, forgives the district and her attacker who is serving 13 years.
"I forgave her because in a way it wasn't really her fault because she tried to reach out for help and nobody tried to help her," she said.