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Greenville County Schools approves legal representation for Tanglewood shooting lawsuit

Megan Fitzgerald/Greenville Journal
Megan Fitzgerald/Greenville Journal

Greenville County Schools was recently sued over the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old student at Tanglewood Middle School in March 2022. During a meeting on April 23, the district’s Board of Trustees approved providing legal representation for the school district and its employees named in the lawsuit.

The district is required by state law and school board policy to defend an employee being sued if they were “acting in the scope of his or her employment,” according to GCS.

The lawsuit was filed by Juanita Joy Jackson, the mother of Jamari Cortez Bonaparte-Jackson, on behalf of his family. It claims the school district failed to exercise reasonable care for Bonaparte-Jackson’s safety at school. It also accuses the district of failing to properly report crime statistics to the Department of Education, train staff on proper conflict resolution methods and implement security procedures to prevent weapons from being brought into the school.

Those named in the lawsuit include the school district; Superintendent Burke Royster; Graysen Walles, former principal of Tanglewood Middle; and Harold McPhail, former assistant principal at Tanglewood Middle. The father and aunt of the now-14-year-old charged with murder in the shooting were also named as defendants in the lawsuit. The suit lists several unnamed defendants.

A Greenville County judge recently ruled the 14-year-old would be tried as an adult.

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