Family of Lawrence King Files Claims Against School, Claims Dress Code Lead to Killing

The family of murdered teen Lawrence King has filed claims against their son’s school, which place much of the blame for his death on the school’s dress code:

King_2“In the claims, the Kings say school and county staff members failed to enforce the middle school’s dress code. That put the feminine-dressing King at particular risk at a time when staff members knew he had ‘unique vulnerabilities’ and was ‘susceptible to abuse’ because of his perceived sexual orientation, the claim says. The family says educators knew the boy was at risk because he had been subjected to death threats at Hathaway School, an elementary campus he attended in Oxnard. King had told friends he was gay, and he wore makeup, jewelry and high-heeled boots with his school uniform — something Dannenberg said the teen had the freedom to do under his First Amendment rights. Assistant Principal Joy Epstein, the only person named in the complaint, is accused of encouraging the boy to wear ‘women’s clothing, shoes and makeup.’ She created an environment of ‘perceived safety’ for King when ‘in fact she could not and did not protect Larry from the threats and ultimate death,’ the claim says.”

The county’s risk manager says he expected to reject the claim. According to the VCS: “King was a ward of the court and living at the Casa Pacifica shelter for abused, neglected and emotionally troubled children at the time of the shooting….Officials should have educated him at the Casa Pacifica shelter, where he would have been safe, instead of sending him to E.O. Green, the complaint alleges. Casa Pacifica administrator Steve Elson said the county had stopped offering classes on campus in the wake of a federal law aimed at keeping kids in their normal neighborhood schools. Still, the agency would have tried to accommodate a student if school or county officials were concerned about safety, he said.”

King’s killer, Brandon McInerney, recently entered a ‘not guilty’ plea in connection with the murder and hate crime.

For all our Lawrence King coverage, click here.


  1. TikiHead says

    I feel for the parent’s grief, but they’re being idiots.

    This is the same sort of logic you here from conservatives: “Freedom and sexual openness is all fine and stuff, but your provoking the TERRORISTS!”

    One does not blame the freedom and openness, one blames the TERRORIST. Likewise, the parents should blame the hateful little piece of shit who shot their son (and the macho, God-poisoned culture that empowered him), NOT their son’s innocent openness and femininity.

  2. PistolPetey says

    So let me get this straight. Parents either physically abuse, neglect, or emotionally abandon gay kid so badly that he leaves home and lives in a shelter. Kid dies; said parents file suit?

    The gall. They should be defendants, not plaintiffs.

  3. Mark says

    The issues seem to be more complicated than noted here if you read the Newsweek article linked in earlier posts. However, it really does seem like another case of blaming the victim. If only Lawrence didn’t dress a certain way, then no one would be compelled to kill him.

  4. Derrick from Philly says

    Difficult to understand the family’s point of view. It seems the school administration went out of it’s way to accomodate Larry–even against the wishes of some teaching staff.

    The King family may be giving ammunition to the McInerney Defense, and that aint showing too much love for Larry.

  5. says

    So the lesbian assistant principal who actually took an interest in and supported Larry is to blame (along with all the “gay-rights people,” to quote Dad from the Newsweek article) according to the family who wasn’t, at the time of his death, even caring for their son . . . that makes perfect sense.

  6. John in Manhattan says

    To put it politely, the parents are scum who are pissing on Larry’s grave given they had the decency to bury him. Who knows with garbage like this.

  7. JerzeeMike says

    I’m sorry, but it seems there’s no love for Lawrence from anyone involved in this case. Parents who abused him, a school administrator who used him to further their own agenda, and a murdering homophobe who killed him.

    He was a problem that was eliminated and the rest is just damage control. RIP Lawrence King. You were too good for this world.

  8. Craig says

    Reading this just now, it strikes me that I don’t remember the religious right ever once denouncing this poor boy’s murderer. I might have missed it, but I don’t think so. What an incredible indictment on those who claim to be followers of Christ.

    If this is “acceptable” in the world of straight people, then I trust it’s OK for any girl in any bar to blow away the first guy that hits on her, too?

    RIP Lawrence King. I think you must have been a wonderful young man.

  9. queendru says

    Craig, just because YOU don’t remember “the religious right” denouncing this murder, doesn’t mean it never happened.

    Anyway this is all about the parents looking for a payday. Typical.

  10. ugh says

    Didn’t they (his parents) dump their child in a shitty state facility like a piece of garbage? I don’t know what circumstances lead to that but they have some audacity attempting to palm their awful behavior toward that child off onto a facility that stepped in when they turned him out on the streets like trash.
    My sympathies lie with him , NOT HIS PARENTS – their behavior is below disgusting.
    abandoning him then trying to cash in on something that happened as a result of the abandonment .
    Simply abhorrent to put it mildly.