The Minneapolis school board on Tuesday approved a $500,000 settlement between the district and the family of Deshaun Hill Jr., a 15-year-old student who was fatally shot last year while walking home from school.
Hill was a North Community High School sophomore and quarterback on the football team. He died in February, one day after he was shot near the intersection of Golden Valley Road and Penn Avenue N.
Around the same time that Hill was shot on Feb. 9, a group of North students left school and traveled to City Hall to protest the death of Amir Locke, who was shot and killed by Minneapolis police. Principal Mauri Friestleben joined the protesting students. As she told families in a letter this spring, doing so went against district protocol, and she was "strongly advised" not to participate in the walkout. In May, she was put on leave — a decision that was quickly reversed after public outcry.
The attorney for Hill's family, William Walker, said Hill was near a bus stop when he was shot and that he typically didn't take the bus home from school.
"If it weren't for [the principal's] decision to override the district, we believe that D. Hill Jr. would be alive today," Walker said Friday, adding that families of North students should have been notified if their student left school that day.
Walker said the settlement represented a "reasonable compromise" in a situation that involved a third party — the alleged shooter — and represented "the best interest" of the district, the family and the community.
"No one wanted to relive this case through litigation," he said.
The district released a statement Tuesday: "The family of Deshaun Hill, Jr. asserted claims against Minneapolis Public Schools arising out of his tragic death. While the school district denied all liability, it reached a settlement with the family. The senseless murder of Deshaun Hill will always be the ultimate tragedy. We hold his family and close friends in our hearts and always will."
The settlement must be approved and distributed by the Hennepin County District Court, according to the district statement.
Cody Fohrenkam, the man accused of second-degree intentional murder in Hill's death, is set to go on trial this month.