The Indiana Court of Appeals cited the Parkland, Florida shooting in its ruling today upholding a protective order Seymour Community Schools filed against a parent.
According to court documents, a Seymour Middle School teacher molested a student in 2015. The girl needed extensive therapy and experienced suicidal thoughts. Her father unsuccessfully requested compensation from the school district.
So, on the first day of school in 2017, he stood next to the middle school holding a sign that said “We protect pedophiles.” The man also had a handgun on his right hip.
Court documents say several parents who dropped their children off for school asked officials why the man was standing on the sidewalk.
“One father was very upset that … the first thing [his] child saw … [on the] first day of school was [a] man standing outside the school with [a] gun,” court documents say.
Superintendent Robert Hooker approached the man and asked him to put his weapon in his car, because the school normally locks down when there is a weapon that close to school children. The father would not remove his firearm, but court documents say he asked the superintendent how he would feel if he brought his AK-47 to the high school that afternoon.
The superintendent asked the court for a protective order against the father because of the threat of violence. The court granted a temporary order of protection that day.
At a fact-finding hearing later, the court entered a two-year order of protection against the father, saying he posed a credible threat to safety.
The father appealed the court’s decision, arguing the school district isn’t a person, so the Indiana Civil Protection Order Act doesn’t allow it to ask for an order of protection. The court rejected that argument.
It also cited the Parkland, Florida shooting in its decision, saying those who present a threat to schools often have a relationship with the school.
“We conclude that school corporations, through their officials, are permitted to act on behalf of their students to seek orders for protection against such threats,” the ruling says.
The court also found the protective order didn’t violate the father’s Second Amendment rights.
Under the order, the man can be on Seymour Community Schools property while picking up and dropping his daughter off for school. He can also protest near school property, but must do so unarmed.