Chardon Victim’s Mom: ‘We’re Overlooked’

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CHARDON, Ohio --The families of three students killed in the Chardon High School shooting spree went to court Friday afternoon to fight for funds that were donated to their families.

The lawsuit was filed against the administrators of the Chardon Healing Fund, including the United Way of Greater Cleveland and United Way of Geauga County.

In the lawsuit, the families claimed that the board refused them financial assistance and only distributed 15 percent of the nearly $960,000 to the families combined. Some funds also were given to survivors of the shooting spree.

“We’re really just kind of overlooked,” said Dina Parmertor, mother of shooting victim Danny Parmertor, 16.

The Parmertors, along with the families of the other victims, Demetrius Hewlin and Russell King Jr., said asking for money from the board was a humiliating process.

And then after a year they were informed they would no longer receive any funds.

“That was very insensitive, very hurtful, very cruel – I’ve been through the worst thing in my life here,” said Dina.

When the fund was established, a board was formed and they made all of the decisions on how the money would be distributed.

Aside from assisting the families, they also paid for a suicide prevention program and a resource officer at the high school.

One board member was also quoted saying: “They didn’t want become enablers.”

“I did quote that," said Attorney Tom Connick. "One of our utmost concerns was helping the families heal and move past the tragic events to the extent they would with loss of their children.”

But the families question how they can determine “their” healing process.

Russell’s mother, Jeannie King, said depression cost her her job, but when she asked for help she was told to apply for welfare.

“Everyone is in a different place with grieving,” said Jeannie. “I have not grieved my son. We’ve been through court and everything else. I’m not in the same position - OK, you’re done after a year-no I just started counseling and that’s not their problem right."

The case was heard Friday in Geauga County Judge Timothy Grendell's courtroom.

Both sides wrapped up with closing arguments around 6 p.m.

Grendell previously ruled that the healing board can no longer authorize spending without the courts approval.

That will continue for now until the judge makes his final ruling, possibly next week.

An attorney for the families said this money was meant for them and should be used to help them heal.

“They still have over $350,000 in the fund so that’s why we’re saying going forward consider our needs,” said Attorney Todd McKenney.

For extended coverage on this story, click here.

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