Sandy Hook parents take their case against Newtown to the state appellate court


   Neil Heslin lost his son, Jesse Lewis, in the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

   “It’s difficult dealing with the loss of my son everyday,” Heslin said.

   Twenty children and six educators were killed when a gunman opened fire inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

   Heslin and the parents of another first grader killed, Noah Pozner, were in state appellate court in Hartford on Wednesday, renewing their legal fight to sue the town of Newtown and the Newtown Board of Education. They allege as the first shots rang out, the school did not follow security protocols, like instituting a “Code Blue” alert over the intercom system.

   Last year, a lower court judge gave them a defeat when the court ruled school officials were immune from being sued and that security protocols were discretionary.

   News8 asked Heslin if “Code Blue” were activated, does he think his son would be alive today?

   “I can’t answer that…. but it would’ve at the very least notified everybody in that school there was a possibility of a threat,” Heslin said.

   The lawsuit doesn’t name individuals.

Related: Mother of Sandy Hook victim shows support at school walkout in New Britain

   However, one of the longest exchanges between attorneys and the three appellate court judges centered around whether or not people heard gunshots or what they thought was “loud banging” when the shots first rang out and the principal ran out into the hallway where the shots were fired. She ended up getting killed.

   An attorney for the parents, Donald Papcsy, told News8 someone should’ve sounded the alarm and activated the Code Blue immediately as per protocol.

   “Our municipalities can’t be responsible for our children if they’re not accountable to them,” he said. 

   News8 asked lawyers representing the town and the Board of Education for comment on camera, but they declined, referring us to their legal briefs.

Papscy tells News8 he thinks it could take months to see if the appeal was successful and if the appellate court judges send this case to a jury to decide.

   Heslin hopes this lawsuit sends a message to every school district across America.

   “I firmly believe every school district and school should do everything in their power to prevent these tragedies,” he said.

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