Previously, when discussing the Oxford High School shooting, it was noted that the Oakland County prosecutor may be looking into charges against the school. Many parents of students believed that the school could have done more to prevent the shooting. With what information was available at the time, I came to the school’s defense. My argument was that the parents of Ethan Crumbley had more of a responsibility to get their son help after the school informed them of his behavior. However, a lawsuit that was recently filed against the school may be shedding light on how culpable the school may have been.
The lawsuit has been filed by the family of two sisters who survived the attack. One of the sisters did receive a gunshot would from Crumbley, while the other narrowly missed receiving gunshot wounds of her own.
In a previous post, it was noted that Ethan Crumbley kept the severed head of a bird in a jar with his parents’ knowledge. According to the lawsuit, Crumbley placed the jar that was also filled with a ‘yellow liquid’ on a toilet paper dispenser in a school bathroom. This was said to be done 2 1/2 weeks prior to the shooting. On the day before the shooting, the lawsuit alleges Crumbley brought live ammunition with him to school and showed it to classmates. Even in the weeks leading up to the shooting, some parents expressed their concern to the school about threatening posts Crumbley was said to have made on social media.
So, what was the school’s response to these matters before the shooting? When it came to the bird jar, the school sent an email to parents that said there was no threat to the school. When Crumbley posted his threatening messages to social media, the school allegedly responded by saying there was still no threat to the school and students need to stop relying on social media for information. Hindsight is 20/20, and I can sort of see why the school said there was no threat, since no overt threat was made. But what did the school say about the ammunition that Crumbley brought to school? Well, according to the lawsuit, students told staff about the ammunition and the school downplayed the claims. Then, of course, there’s the matter of the school letting Crumbley return to class the day of the shooting after the meeting with his parents.
The matter of the ammunition reminds me of another school killing. Back in 2006, at a Massachusetts high school, a student stabbed another student to death to essentially see if he could get away with it. Prior to the stabbing, he showed a school psychiatrist a knife he brought to school and nothing was done about it then either.
Again, it’s easy to armchair quarterback after the shit hits the fan, but if the school knew Crumbley was the one who placed the bird’s head in the bathroom, he should have at least been removed from the school for displaying serial killer-like behavior. However, with the way Crumbley’s parents allowed him to do anything he wanted, that may have not prevented the shooting itself. But if the school knew Crumbley was carrying ammunition on him at school, the police should have been called at least. This way the matter is taken out of the parents’ hands. Even if Crumbley was in possession of the gun at that time, police would have had reasonable cause to search Crumbley’s backpack, possibly preventing the shooting.
If the allegations are true, I’d be interested to know why the school failed to react to any of Crumbley’s actions. Right now, the school has not released any comment due to the ongoing criminal investigation.