Michigan school officials could still face charges following the tragic Oxford High School shooting last week that left four students dead and seven other people injured.
Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald addresses the media in her office, on Friday in Pontiac, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) ((AP Photo/Carlos Osorio))
She did not elaborate further on her comment.
New details on how the school handled suspected shooter Ethan Crumbley emerged this weekend, when Oxford Community Schools superintendent Tim Thorne sent a letter to the school community.
Nov 30, 2021; Oxford, MI, USA; Parents walk away with their kids from the Meijer’s parking lot in Oxford where many students gathered following an active shooter situation at Oxford High School in Oxford on November 30, 2021. Mandatory Credit: Eric Seals-USA TODAY NETWORK (Eric Seals-USA TODAY NETWORK)
The letter explained that on the day of the shooting, school leaders met with Crumbley and his parents following a teacher seeing violent drawings made by Crumbley. Crumbley, however, convinced the school that the drawings were for a “video game” and he was ultimately sent back to class.
“On the morning of Nov. 30, a teacher observed concerning drawings and written statements that have been detailed in media reports, which the teacher reported to school counselors and the Dean of students. The student was immediately removed from the classroom and brought to the guidance counselor’s office where he claimed the drawing was part of a video game he was designing and informed counselors that he planned to pursue video game design as a career,” the letter states.
“At no time did counselors believe the student might harm others based on his behavior, responses and demeanor, which appeared calm. In addition, despite media reports, whether or not the gun was in his backpack has not been confirmed by law enforcement to our knowledge nor by our investigation at this time,” the letter continued.
The letter added that Crumbley’s parents were told to take their son home that day, but “they flatly refused and left without their son, apparently to return to work.” The school also reportedly told the parents they had 48 hours to find counseling for their son or “the school would contact Child Protective Services.”
School officials were also allegedly not aware of the family’s recent gun purchase, which was reportedly used in the shooting, and Crumbley was returned to class.
“While we understand this decision has caused anger, confusion and prompted understandable questioning, the counselors made a judgment based on their professional training and clinical experience and did not have all the facts we now know. Our counselors are deeply committed longstanding school members who have dedicated their lives to supporting students and addressing student mental health and behavioral issues,” the letter continued.
Ethan Robert Crumbley, 15, charged with first-degree murder in a high school shooting, poses in a jail booking photograph taken at the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac, Michigan. (Reuters)
A third party will investigate how Crumbley interacted with the school employees and peers ahead of the shooting, according to the letter.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel tweeted on Sunday that she offered “the services of the Michigan Department of Attorney General to conduct a full and comprehensive review” of the shooting.
The possibility of charges for school officials comes after Ethan Crumbley’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were both charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each. They were apprehended on Saturday morning after an extensive manhunt when they didn’t show up for their arraignment Friday.
Each count is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a $7,500 fine. They both pleaded not guilty.
Their son was promptly arrested the day of the shooting and later charged with one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
He pleaded not guilty and is being held without bond.