The lawsuit claims that Oxford school officials covered up their botched response to suspected shooter Ethan Crumbley’s behavioral outbursts and violent abnormalities.
The family of a Michigan student killed in last year’s fatal shooting at Oxford High School has filed a lawsuit against the district and several education officials.
According to The Detroit News, the lawsuit was filed by the father and older sister of 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana.
The complaint accuses Oxford school officials of creating a “cover story” to explain why they let accused killer Ethan Crumbley return to school, despite exhibiting a “disturbing pattern of behavior.”
As LegalReader.com has reported before, Crumbley had an apparent preoccupation with death and a fascination with firearms. He had previously been reported to Oxford administrators for making violent posts on social media.
Crumbley had also been caught browsing ammunition sales in school, and writing, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me […] blood everywhere […] My life is useless […] the world is dead.”
Crumbley was finally referred to school counselors when a teacher saw a drawing on his desk that depicted a gun, bullets, and a bleeding victim.
However, even after meeting with Crumbley’s parents, Oxford allowed the student to remain in school.
“Less than two hours later, [Crumbley] took his backpack into a bathroom and emerged with a loaded handgun,” attorney Michael Pitt wrote in the lawsuit. “He opened fire, killing four students, including fourteen-year-old Hana St. Juliana, and seriously injuring seven others.”
The lawsuit notes that, after school counselors spoke to Crumbley and his parents, they concluded that he was not likely to harm himself or others.
However, his parents were informed that they had 48 hours to seek counseling for Crumbley, or that the district would contact Child Protective Services.
Despite counselors asking Crumbley’s parents to take their son home for the day, they refused.
Now, St. Juliana’s family says that Oxford officials partook in a cover-up to avoid accountability.
“Specifically, the district had sought to avoid accountability by claiming it has a formal policy and practice of returning students to class unless there is a ‘disciplinary’ issue that can be used to either send them home or hold them in the counseling office, and since [Crumbley] did not present a ‘disciplinary’ issue, it had no choice but to return him to class,” Pitt wrote in the lawsuit.
The district’s policies, say the complaint, “demonstrates egregious deliberate indifference to the danger presented when a student such as [Crumbley], who the school knew was suicidal and presented a clear threat, is returned to the school environment.”
“In truth,” Pitt added, “the district did know that [Crumbley] was suicidal and possibly homicidal when he was released from the counselor’s office.”
The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages relating to Hana St. Juliana’s death.