Amanda Collette Should Not Have Died: Teen's Family Sues Broward County Schools in Gun Murder

Amanda Collette (Personal Photo)
Amanda Collette (Personal Photo)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (CBS/AP) The Broward County School Board has been slapped with a wrongful death lawsuit by the family of Amanda Collette, the 15-year-old who was gunned down in the hallway of her high school by a heartbroken classmate.

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Teah Wimberly (AP/Carline Jean)

Last month, 16-year-old Teah Wimberly was sentenced to 25 years in state prison for the murder of Collette, her classmate and longtime friend, a hip-hop dancer who had rejected Wimberly's romantic advances, according to the Miami Herald.

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The wrongful death lawsuit filed Thursday by Collette's family seeks $15,000 in damages. The suit alleges that the school board disregarded the safety of its students after receiving prior notice that a student in the school had a handgun and intended to use it. The suit also says the school, Dillard High in Fort Lauderdale, has hand-held, metal detecting wands that schools officials did not use on Nov. 12, 2008, the day of the shooting, according to the paper.

In the past six months, three other Broward School District students have been violently attacked on or near school campuses. Michael Brewer, a student at Deerfield Middle School in Deerfield Beach, was doused with alcohol and intentionally set on fire, allegedly by a group of classmates, in October 2009, and suffered burns over two thirds of his body and spent time in a coma.

In a separate incident Brewer's classmate, Josie Lou Ratley, 15, was also allegedly attacked and kicked repeatedly in the head with steel-toed boots by 15-year-old Wayne Treacy on March 17, in front of the same middle school.  Ratley remains in a medically induced coma.

Less than a week after the attack on Ratley, a 14-year-old male student at McNicol Middle School allegedly punched his 12-year-old ex-girlfriend several times in the face while on a bus as it pulled up to the campus, breaking her nose.

Teshawnia Thompson, Amanda Collette's aunt, told reporters at a news conference outside the Broward County courthouse in Fort Lauderdale Thursday that the family decided to file the lawsuit in the hopes of spurring the school district into increasing security and teacher vigilance.

"What we want is Amanda's death not to be in vain,'' Thompson said.

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