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Family of Oxford Shooting Victims Sues District Officials, Educators

— December 10, 2021

This is the first lawsuit to be filed after the Oxford High shooting, which left four students dead and another seven injured.

The parents of two Oxford High School students have filed a lawsuit against district officials, claiming that the Michigan school shooting was “entirely preventable,” had the defendants not “created and increased the dangers then-existing at Oxford High School.”

According to CNN, the lawsuit was filed by Jeffrey and Brandi Franz in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on behalf of their daughters, 17-year-old Riley Franz and 14-year-old Bella Franz.

The complaint names as defendants school and district officials, including: Oxford Community Schools, Superintendent Timothy Throne, Oxford High School Principal Steven Wolf, Dean of Students Ryan Moore, two school counselors, and a single staff member.

Collectively, the Franz family is seeking at least $100 million in damages.

The lawsuit observes that, before the fatal shooting, at least two teachers had reported suspected shooter Ethan Crumbley.

Gavel resting on open book; image by verkeorg, via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, no changes.
Gavel resting on open book; image by verkeorg, via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, no changes.

Crumbley, who is believed to have killed four students and injured seven other people, had been caught searching for ammunition on his phone in school.

And, shortly before the shooting, a teacher found a disturbing, violent drawing on Crumbley’s desk.

Later the same day, Crumbley’s parents were summoned to the school for what was a purportedly unproductive meeting.

After his parents dismissed school official’s concerns, Crumbley was then allowed to return to class.

Several hours later, Crumbley went to a bathroom, retrieved a handgun from his backpack, and opened fire on students in the halls.

He surrendered after being confronted by armed law enforcement.

In their complaint, the Franz family alleges that—aside from the incidents on school grounds—education officials, including Throne and Wolf, disregarded threatening messages Crumbley had posted on social media.

In at least one post, Crumbley uploaded a picture of a 9mm Sig Sauer handgun.

“Previous to the November 30, 2021 incident, Ethan Crumbley posted threats of bodily harm, including death, on his social media accounts, warning of violent tendencies and murderous ideology,” the lawsuit states.

Not only did school officials ignore Crumbley’s disturbing behavior, the Franz family says, they failed to report him to the school’s safety liaison officer.

“I have not heard a rational explanation from the school administration as to why [the school safety liaison officer] was not utilized,” said attorney Geoffrey Fieger, who is representing the Franz family.

“And, as a result—by doing the things they did or didn’t do—they placed students in much greater danger than they would have been, had they done that,” Fieger said in a press conference. “The students would have been protected, and that is basically the essence in the federal complaint here.”

CNN notes that Riley Franz was one of the seven students injured in the shooting, which is being prosecuted as a terror incident.

Riley, says CNN, was shot in the neck; while her sister Bella was not hurt, she witnessed her sister’s injury.

Both girls, according to the lawsuit, are now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“These are the types of things that children don’t recover from, not easily, not ever,” Fieger told CNN in an interview.


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