The lawsuit claims that suspected shooter Ethan Crumbley exhibited increasingly disturbing behavior in the days leading up to the killings. However, education administrators appear to have actively discouraged students and parents from airing their concerns.
Oxford Community School District is facing another lawsuit alleging that administrators and other education officials—including Oxford High School’s principal, Steven Wolf—knew that suspected shooter Ethan Crumbley was dangerous long before he opened fire inside the Michigan school, killing four people and wounding seven others.
According to NBC News, the lawsuit was filed in December but recently amended to include 11 new counts; it seeks an estimated $100 million damages.
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Eastern Michigan, accuses the defendants—which include the school district, Superintendent Timothy Throne, as well as Oxford High Principal Steven Wolf—of “gross negligence,” alleging that their inaction caused “serious and permanent physical and emotional trauma.”
“The horror of November 30, 2021 was entirely preventable,” the lawsuit states.
The complaint claims that Crumbely began exhibiting increasingly bizarre behavior in the months and weeks leading up to the shooting.
On November 11, for instance, Crumbley brought a Mason jar to school—inside of which was a severed bird head, soaked in a “yellow liquid.”
Crumbley, says the lawsuit, the left the jar in a boys’ bathroom.
The complaint further alleges that Oxford School District was aware that other students’ parents had raised concerns about Crumbley’s social media posts.
One day before the shooting, for instance, Crumbley wrote a post saying, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. See you tomorrow Oxford.”
While several students and parents reported the social media post to administrators, Crumbley was nonetheless allowed to report to school.
“This action assisted in the perpetuation of his plans to effectuate and provided the clearance for Ethan Crumbley to commit, a violent slaughter of classmates and increased the risk that Plaintiffs’ Minors would be exposed to Ethan Crumbley’s acts of violence,” the lawsuit says.
Throne, the complaint claims, actively discouraged “students and parents from reporting, sharing, or otherwise discussing” Crumbley’s social media activities.
Wolf, meanwhile, allegedly “directed the teachers and counselors to tell the students to stop reporting, sharing, or otherwise discussing the threatening social media posts, and violent animal slaughter that was occurring at Oxford High School.”
The shooting happened the same day Crumbley’s social media post indicated.
Crumbley, adds NBC News, has been charged as an adult for murder and assorted other crimes, including one count of terrorism.
His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, have also been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors allege that not only did the Crumbleys purchase Ethan a handgun but failed to properly secure. Furthermore, on the day of the shooting, the Crumbleys declined to take their son home after a counselor called them in to discuss violent images and messages Ethan Crumbley had created.