One year after a shooting rampage at Oxford High School in Michigan, which resulted in the deaths of four students, the school district and the larger community are still struggling with the agonising question of whether or not the attack could have been stopped, and how it could have been prevented.
On Monday, two individuals who had previously served as board members for the school district brought up a number of preventative measures that, in their opinion, ought to have been carried out in the years leading up to the shooting that took place on November 30, but were not.
Tom Donnelly, who was serving as the board’s president, and Korey Bailey, who was serving as the board’s treasurer, both said that they resigned from their positions in September in order to be able to talk more openly about the tragedy and the events that followed it.
They stated that the district had failed to fully establish threat assessment policies that had been approved for more than a decade. They also stated that the district had failed to fully establish threat assessment policies that had been approved for over a decade. They believed that frequent training and practise in the process of detecting threats and averting shootings would have been optimal.
Mr. Bailey said that while the state mandates that schools conduct fire drills on a regular basis, the state does not place the same focus on the need of school danger assessments. “I feel that Oxford has a moral and ethical commitment to utilise this tragedy as a loud voice to other districts in order to not only learn from their errors but also use this tragedy as a learning opportunity for themselves,”
In addition to this, Mr. Donnelly said that an evaluation that had been completed by an independent investigator was long delayed. According to Guidepost Solutions, a security consulting business that was engaged by the district to undertake the evaluation, an initial report was anticipated to be completed somewhere in the early part of the next year.
In a statement that was sent out through email, the president of the board of education for the district, Dan D’Alessandro, stated that “the study will assist us all grasp the facts and have the openness and accountability we all deserve.”
ALICE stands for “alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate,” and it is a protocol that was implemented by the school system on a regular basis in order to educate children on how to keep themselves safe in the event of a shooting. Following the incident, the local authorities said that students, staff members, and police officers had all responded in a manner that was consistent with what they had been taught to do. However, in recent years, there has been an increase in criticism of these types of exercises, with parents and some experts wondering whether or not they might be unproductive or harmful to the mental health of children.
Ethan Crumbley, 16, a student at the school, admitted his involvement in the shooting that took place a month ago, saying that he was responsible for the deaths of Tate Myre, 16, Justin Shilling, 17, Madisyn Baldwin, 14, and Hana St. Juliana, 14, as well as the injuries sustained by seven other people, including six students and a teacher. He entered a guilty plea to all 24 charges against him, which included murder, attempted murder, terrorism, and breaches of firearms laws.
Local prosecutors also took the unusual step of filing charges against Ethan’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley. They said that they were culpable because they had allowed their son access to a handgun while ignoring warnings that he was on the brink of violence. James and Jennifer Crumbley have been charged with first-degree criminal negligence in connection with their son’s death.
According to the investigators, James Crumbley bought his son a semiautomatic handgun on November 26, 2021, the day after Thanksgiving. The gun belonged to James Jr.
According to the prosecution, school authorities met with Mr. Crumbley and his parents, but Mr. Crumbley’s parents refused to let them bring him home.
Mr. Bailey and Mr. Donnelly refused to expand more on who was primarily responsible for delaying third-party investigations, citing pending litigation against the district as their justification. Mr. Donnelly also hinted that the district’s insurance provider may have had a role in the delay.
After the news conference, Bradley Dizik, executive vice president of Guidepost, said in an email that the issues expressed by the former Oxford school board members “are included in the scope of the independent review.”
Mr. Dizik stated that Guidepost had not yet spoken with some “critical witnesses” at a school board meeting that took place a week ago. He added that he expected a law firm associated with the district’s insurance carrier to make those witnesses available after their depositions in court proceedings.
In a statement that was sent out via email on Monday by the law firm Giarmarco, Mullins & Horton, it was stated that “multiple staff members received threat assessment training before the tragedy that occurred on November 30,” and that “many of the former board members’ allegations show a misunderstanding of the facts.” It was also said that further information will be disclosed throughout the current dispute.