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Taft Midway Driller - Taft, CA
  • Cleveland's family files claim against TUHS

  • They want answers about alleged hit list and information about shooting suspect. It is the first step towards filing lawsuit
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  • A Bakersfield attorney representing the parents of a 16-year-old Taft High student critically wounded in a Jan. 10 classroom shooting wants answers to questions about the alleged gunman.
    Daniel Rodriguez has filed a claim seeking access to information regarding accused shooter Bryan Oliver, who is widely rumored to have had a “hit list” and made other threats to harm students.
    Administrators reportedly denied such a list existed when asked by faculty during a meeting after the shooting and before classes resumed.
    Despite the denial, stories of a hit list last year and threats allegedly made by Oliver during the holiday break have persisted and were a focal point of last week’s meeting with concerned parents.
    The claim filed by Rodriguez is the first step in filing a lawsuit against the district.
    Interim Supt. William McDermott, Principal Marilyn Brown and Vice Principal Rona Angelo are named in the claim filed Wednesday.
    Angelo may be the only administrator familiar with the purported hit list and other threats because McDermott did not work for the district and Brown was not the principal last year.
    Mark Richardson served as both superintendent and principal and likely would have had a role in any investigation to a hit list.
    McDermott said state and Education Code privacy laws prevent district officials from revealing any information from Oliver’s file.
    Rodriguez and the victim’s mother, Leah Cleveland, did a series of media interviews Wednesday afternoon to publicize the legal action and provide an update on Bowe’s condition.
    He’s been moved from the intensive care unit at Kern Medical Center where he has been treated for a blast from a .12-gauge shotgun witnesses say Oliver brought to Ryan Heber’s second period earth science class that day.
    Leah Cleveland said her son continues to recover but the road to recovery will be a long one.
    “He’s on the road to recovery, and he’s happy to be alive,” she said.  “In a few days they will make an evaluation to see when he can be released.”
    He still has shotgun pellets in his lungs and liver, she said, and will not only be dealing with the physical aspect of his injuries but the emotional trauma as well.
    “Long term, who knows,” she said of his recovery, adding he should be able to come home within a week or so.
    She provided details about the day her son was shot, saying Bowe remembers being shot, blood pumping from his chest with every breath and the trip to the hospital by both ground and air ambulance.
    Cleveland was kept in a medically induced coma until recently.
    Page 2 of 2 - Rodriguez said the claim he filed is designed to get answers.
    “We’re not getting any straight answers and the only way we’re getting any straight answers as to whether they dropped the ball is to sue,” he said.  “The only way we can get that is through a court order.”
    Taft High officials had no comment.
    Meanwhile, Oliver is scheduled to make a court appearance on Feb. 20.  He is being held on $2 million bail.

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