Oxford Schools Superintendent Tim Throne defended actions made by administrators during the deadly Oxford shooting amid two separate lawsuits that accused the school of “gross negligence.”
Occurring on Nov. 30, the Oxford High School shooting left four people dead and seven injured. It was the deadliest school shooting on record in 2021. The 15-year-old gunman, Ethan Crumbley, and his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, allegedly displayed multiple warning signs leading up to the tragic attack, stirring controversy over how the Michigan School District handled events.
Two lawsuits were later filed by survivors of the school shooting against the Oxford Schools Superintendent, stating that the school knew of the potential danger from Ethan Crumbley and ignored obvious red flags. One lawsuit also alleged that the student’s “violent tendencies” were displayed on social media posts, and that the school was aware of potential concerns when they had a meeting with Crumbley’s parents right before the shooting.
Writing a letter to the school community on Tuesday in response, Oxford Schools Superintendent Tim Throne stated that he wanted to clarify “numerous irresponsible and false allegations as well as inaccurate claims” about the shooting.
According to Throne’s letter, “The district was unaware of the perpetrator’s social media presence or related posts until after the November 30 incident.”
He also stated that, “We have always taken threats very seriously and will continue to listen to students and parents who report threats to the district.”
Social media posts from Ethan Crumbley leading up the shooting detailed the purchase of the gun later used in the attack, as well as quotes such as, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. See you tomorrow Oxford.”
Despite defending the school by saying that they were unaware of his social media accounts, previous reports said all of the information was shared in a disciplinary meeting with his parents before the attack.
After finding Ethan Crumbley searching for information about ammunition online and drawing disturbing images of schoolmates bleeding from gunshot wounds, the school called in Crumbley’s parents.
Allegedly, James and Jennifer Crumbley informed the school that they had recently purchased a gun, which the school has yet to deny, and Crumbley was sent back into class. Moments later, he began firing.
Many critics questioned in the days following the attack why Ethan Crumbley’s backpack was not searched, which led to an investigation. No charges have been filed against the school district or the Oxford Schools Superintendent’s actions.
“While we understand this decision has caused anger, confusion and prompted understandable questioning, the counselors made a judgment based on their professional training and clinical experience, and did not have all the facts we now know,” Tim Throne said.
The lawsuits also alleged a new and disturbing event involving a severed bird head found in the school’s bathroom, which they claimed came from Ethan Crumbley.
Though Tim Throne denied in his letter that the incident had anything to do with Crumbley, Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor Marc Keast previously said that the 15-year-old mutilated and tortured a bird in his room for six months before the bird’s head was found in the school.
“It was brought to the attention of and investigated by law enforcement,” Throne stated. “In addition to school personnel reviewing video footage over two days and interviewing several students, law-enforcement investigated the bird head incident before November 30 and determined there was no threat to the high school.”
Ethan Crumbley plead not guilty to the charges of murder and terrorism. His parents also plead not guilty under charges of involuntary manslaughter and gross negligence.
As the controversy continues, students are expected to return to class on Monday, Jan. 24, for the first time since the shooting. The school faces up to $100 million in damages as they attempt to defend that their actions did not put students in preventable danger.