There are several lawsuits pending against school officials at Oxford High School.
On November 30, 15-year-old sophomore Ethan Crumbley allegedly killed four students and injured countless others. He is currently being held in Oxford County Jail and is facing 24 charges: four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, twelve counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and one count of terrorism causing death, which is almost unheard of in a school shooting.
His parents, James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley, are also each facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter, with prosecutors arguing that they knew that their son was in trouble and did nothing to help him. According to updates at a hearing on Friday, prosecutors revealed startling new evidence against the couple, including claims that Ethan used to text his mother when he was home alone because he felt that ghosts and demons were in the house.
Although the charges are meant to hold his parents accountable, there are several lawsuits pending against school officials, who parents have criticized for not doing enough to prevent the shooting.
School Officials Allegedly Knew That Ethan Crumbley Was A Troubled Student
According to one lawsuit, school officials knew that Ethan Crumbley was a troubled student, and yet did nothing to help him. The lawsuit pointed to one specific example: only three weeks before Ethan brought a gun to school, he had brought a “bird’s head to school in a mason jar filled with yellow liquid and left it on top of a toilet paper dispenser in the boy’s bathroom.”
Reportedly, Ethan had not only brought bullets to school the day before the shooting, but he also had them in full display for teachers and classmates to see. A revised version of the lawsuit also includes new information that Ethan had frequently searched for ammunition on his cell phone while he was at school.
The suit claims that school officials not only knew about the bullets, but they also knew about a Tweet he posted saying, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. See you tomorrow Oxford.”
Attorney Nora Hanna told the Detroit Free Press that “the school was on alert about Ethan. There are a million things that they could have done.” The revised lawsuit claims that not only did the school officials fail to act on Crumbey’s behavior, but they also accelerated the timeline of his attack.
The lawsuit claims that the school principal “excited Ethan Crumbley by pulling him out of class, warning him that Child Protective Services might be called, thereby, encouraging Crumbley to accelerate his timetable for murder.”
The morning of the shooting, Crumbley had been removed from class in order to attend a meeting with school officials and his parents regarding the drawing of a gun, a bloodied figure, and the words “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.” The lawsuit claims that removing Crumbley from class in front of his peers caused him humiliation, and then making him wait for an hour and a half for his parents to attend the meeting “further escalated” his plan.
Although school officials were required by law to report Ethan Crumbley’s behavior to Child Protective Services, they threatened to do so but never followed through.
School Officials Downplayed The Threat Ethan Crumbley Posed, Lawsuit Claims
After video evidence confirmed that Ethan Crumbley was the one who left the bird’s head in the bathroom, the school issued an email stating that there has “been no threat to our building nor our students.”
As it turns out, that wasn’t the only severed animal head that was left on campus. In early November, someone left a severed deer’s head in the school courtyard and scribbled messages in red paint on school windows. Parents also reported threats to students on social media.
“I know I’m being redundant here, but there is absolutely no threat at the HS,” the principal stated in a November 16th email. “Large assumptions were made from a few social media posts, then the assumptions evolved into exaggerated rumors.”
The lawsuit, which cites the email as evidence, said that school officials were aware of social media posts made from Ethan Crumbley’s account, in which he “threatened Oxford High School students.”
As for the deer’s head, school officials said that an investigation has revealed the culprit behind the act, but they have not disclosed that person’s identity.