Slain Teen's Mother Says She's Suing Arundel Schools

July 03, 2009|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

A lawyer for the mother of Christopher Jones, the Crofton teen who died in an apparent eruption of suburban gang violence, has notified the Anne Arundel County school system of the family's intention to sue for failing to protect the 14-year-old from gangs at school.

"The mother is almost as mad at the school department as she is at the six kids," said Richard L. Jaklitsch, attorney for Jenny Adkins, the mother of Christopher Jones. "They made numerous promises to her. The school didn't live up to a single one."

Spokesman Bob Mosier said the school system does not comment on pending litigation.

Christopher died about a block from his house after being attacked May 30 by a group of teens while riding his bike in what police say was a gang dispute. Javel George, 16, has been charged as an adult in the death; a 14-year-old has been charged as a juvenile.

Police have said that Christopher was not a member of any of the loosely organized gangs in Crofton, but was friends of a group calling itself The New Threat, or TNT, which was apparently feuding with the East Side Diamonds, or ESD.

Adkins has said that she complained to school officials that her son was being bullied at school and that officials had promised to protect Christopher. He was transferred from Arundel High School to South River High School in late April to escape the bullying, his mother has said.

As required by Maryland law, a plaintiff has 180 days after an incident to send notice of the intent to file a claim. The family now has a three-year deadline to file suit. Under county statute, the amount the county can be held liable for is capped at $200,000.

Jaklitsch characterized Christopher as someone who was not involved in gangs and was trying to make peace between the rivals.

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