Family of Murdered IPS Student Can’t Sue School District

(INDIANAPOLIS) – The family of an Indianapolis teenager who was murdered after ditching school can’t sue IPS for wrongful death.

Jaylan Murray was found dead in 2016, hours after he left Arlington High School without anyone noticing. His relatives argued the school had a responsibility for its students during the school day and should have monitored the exits so Murray couldn’t just walk out.

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Murray’s family could sue. But a unanimous Indiana Supreme Court notes that while there’s disagreement over whether Murray left campus to buy drugs or a gun, no one disputes he left to commit a crime. Justice Steven David writes Murray knew the dangers that accompanied those deals and is partly responsible himself. Under Indiana law, he says the school can’t be held responsible for negligence when the victim shares part of the blame.

The court didn’t address IPS’s argument that as a government entity, the school district is immune from being sued except in limited circumstances.