After the fatal mass shooting at Oxford High School last year that resulted in four students’ deaths, a group of Michigan High Schoolers have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that their school district and several of its officials failed to heed “constitutional obligations to safeguard the safety of students.” The students, all of which were present during the shooting, seek to obtain a transparent third-party investigation into the Oxford Community School District’s lack of action regarding the warning signs leading up to the shooting and the event itself. The suit’s complaint is that officials acted with “deliberate indifference” contributing to the attack as much as the shooter.
The students’ lawsuit alleges that on November 30, 2021, school officials released “John Doe” from the safe confinement of the counseling office following alarming behavior and a meeting with his parents and “compounded the danger to all students.” The shooter was fifteen years old at the time of the massacre, and is now pleading not guilty to charges including four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. His parents likewise have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, also pleading not guilty. The father has been revealed by prosecutors to have bought a gun for his son just days before the shooting at an Oxford store.
The shooters’ actions were not spontaneous, but premeditated, with all red flags in the days prior ignored or brushed aside by adults and faculty of the school. A drawing was revealed in court, done by the shooter on his desk, which showed a semiautomatic handgun pointing at the words ‘‘the thoughts won’t stop help me.’’ The illustration included a drawing of a bullet with the words “blood everywhere” written above it, The words “my life is useless” and “the world is dead” were also written on the drawing
Justice could not come fast enough for those lost in the senseless violence, and hopefully officials will be far more proactive in the future with other students that show equally disturbing signs. The beautiful souls lost to us on that dark day: Madisyn Baldwin, 17, was an artist readying to graduate and continue to college through awarded scholarships; Tate Myre, 16, was a star football player who had earned his varsity team position back in his Freshman year; Hana St. Juliana, 14, was a dedicated basketball player since the sixth grade; and Justin Shilling, 17, was a scholar of Oxford’s Baccalaureate program, a lettered athlete, and a university scholarship awardee. May their memories be blessings to those they have left behind.