Placing blame at Oxford High

Emma Homan, Feature News Director

Four students were killed alongside seven injuries in a shooting at Oxford High School on November 30. Now, several lawsuits and criminal trials have sprung up, claiming the school, the shooter, and the parents of the shooter are at fault for the incident. 

The shooter, a 15-year-old sophomore who was in attendance that day, displayed several warning signs the day of and in the weeks preceding the tragedy, including concerning drawings and writings, videos on his phone, and Google searches. None of these incidents were deemed enough to force the student home from school that day, and his belongings were never searched.

Oxford High School and its administration are being blamed for negligence in the events. The concerning drawings and Google searches of ammo were not deemed enough to send the student home, his bag was never searched in a precautionary measure, and therefore the gun was not found prior to the shooting. There is also a major lawsuit being filed against the school on the behalf of two sisters, both victims of the event, who survived, claiming the school violated the student’s 14th amendment rights, particularly the right to be free from danger created or increased by the school’s actions. As other lawsuits of its kind placed against other schools in similar circumstances have been denied due to government immunity, only time will tell if this lawsuit will gain any ground.

For the first time, however, the parents of the shooter are being also charged. Both are receiving four counts of involuntary manslaughter due to their presumed negligence in their son’s mental state, and how that negligence lead directly to the shooting. The semi-automatic handgun used in the shooting was gifted as a Christmas present. When the boy was caught searching for ammo online at school the day before, his mother texted him, “LOL, I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,” according to the New York Times.  When concerning drawings depicting blood, a gun, and the words, “Blood everywhere. The thoughts won’t stop. Help me,” were confiscated on the day of the event and brought to their attention in a meeting with a guidance counselor, they chose not to send the boy home.

According to Ed Week, this is only one of the many school shooting incidents that have occurred this past year. In the same state, only a few days later on December 7, gunshots were fired towards Ottawa Hills High School, and although no one was injured, the threat was real. A downturn in shooting incidents can be attributed to many virtual learning programs over the pandemic taking a large population of students out of schools, but now that many virtual learning programs are being replaced by the reinstatement of traditional, in-person schooling, those numbers may begin to increase back to where they were in 2019, CNN’s statistics listing nearly one per week.