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Oxford High School students sued for change after last year’s mass shooting

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Students hug at a memorial at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan on December 1, 2021.

Paul Sancia/AP


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Paul Sancia/AP

Students hug at a memorial at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan on December 1, 2021.

Paul Sancia/AP

A group of students who attend a high school in Michigan that suffered a massive fatal shooting late last year are suing the district to force policy changes ahead of the new school year.

About 20 students have filed a federal lawsuit against the Oxford Community School District and several school officials, demanding “transparency and a sense of security” as they recover from the shooting and prepare for the upcoming semester.

“While the plaintiffs survived the shooting, they suffered irreparable harm,” the lawsuit says.

“Each day since the November 30, 2021 tragedy, Oxford High School students, including the plaintiffs, have walked through the school doors, assuming they will have to defend themselves if another violent attack occurs,” the lawsuit says.

The shooting killed four students: Tate Mair, 16; Hana St. Julian, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; and Justin Schilling, 17. The attack also injured six students and a teacher.

15-year-old suspect Ethan Crumbly, as well as his parents, were charged with assault. Crumbley has been charged with murder and other crimes and plans to appear in court in an insanity case. His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbly, pleaded not guilty to four counts of manslaughter.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, seeks “a fully transparent and independent third-party investigation” into what led to the shooting.

Students also want the district to promise “total transparency” in its communications with Oxford High School students and their parents, ensure that administrators are properly trained and take other protective measures such as not letting suicidal students back into the classroom.

Counselors met with Crumbly and his parents on the day of the attack, but ultimately allowed him back into class, whereupon he allegedly fired the fatal shooting.

The claim does not seek monetary damages.

The Oxford School District did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment.

Alicia Feltz, the parent of one of the students named in the lawsuit, said at a press conference last week that filing the lawsuit against the school district was an attempt to be heard by education officials.

“Including our children’s names in a federal lawsuit is a desperate attempt,” Feltz said. according to non-profit news agency Bridge Michigan.

“If there is no investigation, there is no transparency. Without transparency, there is no accountability. If there is no accountability, trust cannot be restored,” Feltz added.

Other victims of the Oxford High School shooting have also taken legal action, including the family of Riley Franz, a student who was shot in the neck during the attack and said the school district failed to prevent the violence.

The Oxford High School shooting was one of 34 school shootings in 2021 in which at least one person was killed or injured. according to Education Week. There have been at least 27 school shootings this year, including the recent mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

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