Advance Notice: Briefs

Nessel calls on Oxford board to provide transparency surrounding high school shooting

By: - April 20, 2022 9:51 am

Oxford High School, Dec. 3, 2021 | Allison R. Donahue

A day after meeting with families from Oxford Community Schools, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel called for the district’s Board of Education to provide transparency regarding the events that led to the Nov. 30 school shooting that left four teenagers dead and seven other people injured. 

Tuesday’s letter followed a community conversation with district families Monday night in which Nessel said there was an “overwhelming concern shared by all in attendance…to learn more about what happened.”

Nessel stated that under Michigan law, school boards have final responsibility over district operations. 

Dana Nessel | Susan J. Demas

“Among other things, the law gives each board the power to provide for the safety and welfare of students,” states the letter. “This awesome authority has been placed in the hands of local boards to help ensure that the persons responsible for the critical operations of the school are also directly accountable to the communities they serve. To put it plainly, the families you serve want transparency and – as board members – you have an obligation to provide it.”

Nessel also used the letter to renew her offer to perform an independent investigation of the events that transpired on the day of the shooting. A similar offer was rejected by district officials in December. 

While she said her office would take responsibility for the costs of such an investigation, Nessel made plain that the offer was not open-ended.

“In order to ensure you have sufficient time to convene as a board to discuss this offer, I am respectfully requesting a response to my offer by May 20th, 2022,” she writes.

According to a release from Nessel’s office, the listening session was the second of multiple forums she plans to hold to allow community members to share their thoughts.

It also follows a public meeting last week during which parents of Oxford High School students expressed anger that the district has yet to make any arrangements for a third-party review of the shooting spree.

15-year-old Ethan Crumbley is charged with murder and other counts for carrying out the shootings which occurred when he brought a handgun to school in his backpack. 

The gun was a gift from his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley. 

They have pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter that were filed after officials say they failed to secure the weapon and take reasonable actions after their son showed obvious signs of mental distress.

On Tuesday, a judge denied a motion to reduce their bonds, citing their actions in the aftermath of the shooting in which they eluded police for a day before being arrested in a commercial building in Detroit.

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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2021 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.