NATIONAL NEWS

Parents of Michigan school shooting victims say more investigation is needed

Mar 18, 2024, 12:59 PM | Updated: 3:54 pm

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — The parents of four students killed at a Michigan school called on Monday for a state investigation of all aspects of the 2021 mass shooting, saying the convictions of a teenager and his parents are not enough to close the book.

The parents also want a change in Michigan law, which currently makes it hard to sue the Oxford school district for errors that contributed to the attack.

“We want this to be lessons learned for Michigan and across the country, ultimately,” said Steve St. Juliana, whose 14-year-old daughter, Hana, was killed by Ethan Crumbley at Oxford High School.

“But in order to get there, some fundamental things have to happen,” he said.

Buck Myre, the father of victim Tate Myre, said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel needs to “quit ignoring us.”

St. Juliana, Myre, Craig Shilling and Nicole Beausoleil sat for a joint interview with The Associated Press at the Oakland County prosecutor’s office. A jury last week convicted the shooter’s father, James Crumbley, of involuntary manslaughter.

The boy’s mother, Jennifer Crumbley, was convicted of the same charges in February. The parents were accused of making a gun accessible at home and ignoring their son’s mental distress, especially on the day of the shooting when they were summoned by the school to discuss a ghastly drawing on a math assignment.

The Crumbleys didn’t take the 15-year-old home, and school staff believed he wasn’t a threat to others. No one checked his backpack for a gun, however, and he later shot up the school.

The Oxford district hired an outside group to conduct an independent investigation. A report released last October said “missteps at each level” — school board, administrators, staff — contributed to the disaster. Dozens of school personnel declined to be interviewed or didn’t respond.

The district had a threat assessment policy but had failed to implement guidelines that fit the policy — a “significant failure,” according to the report.

Myre said a state investigation with teeth could help reveal the “whole story” of Nov. 30, 2021.

“When there’s accountability, then change happens,” he said. “We want accountability and change. No parent, no school district, no child should ever have to go through this.”

The state attorney general’s office disputes claims that it has no interest in Oxford. Spokesperson Danny Wimmer said Nessel has met with students and families but was rebuffed by the school board when she offered to investigate the shooting.

He said the state does not have authority to pursue its own civil investigation.

“We understand the families are hurting and are understandably upset, but this does not change the law,” Wimmer said.

An email seeking comment was sent to the school district. The criminal cases were handled by local prosecutor Karen McDonald.

Lawsuits by families against the district are pending in state and federal appeals courts, but the bar in Michigan is high. Under state law, public agencies can escape liability if their actions were not the proximate cause of injury, among other conditions.

And because of that legal threshold, the parents said, insurance companies that cover schools get in the way of public transparency.

“The system has been able to hold the people accountable,” Myre said, referring to the convictions of the Crumbley family, “but we are not allowed to hold the system accountable.”

“That’s unconstitutional,” he said. “That’s an attack on our civil rights.”

Myre praised Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for meeting with parents but said other officials have not listened.

St. Juliana said Michigan should create an agency dedicated to school safety, as Maryland has.

“We need to get the truth and the facts out there, and we can then develop the countermeasures to say, ‘How do we prevent these mistakes from happening again?’” St. Juliana said.

Besides Tate Myre and Hana St. Juliana, Justin Shilling, 17, and Madisyn Baldwin, 17, were killed. Six students and a staff member were wounded.

Ethan Crumbley, now 17, is serving a life prison sentence for murder and terrorism. His parents will be sentenced on April 9.

___

Follow Ed White on X, formerly Twitter: https://twitter.com/edwritez

National News

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Couple rescued from desert near California’s Joshua Tree National Park after running out of water

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A couple hiking in the desert south of Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California was rescued after running out of water, authorities said. On Sunday, the man called 911 and reported that his girlfriend was dehydrated and weak, according to a statement from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office posted Monday […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people Friday after they were stuck for about half an hour dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park. Portland Fire and Rescue said on the social platform X that firefighters worked with engineers at Oaks Park to manually lower the […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Independent report criticizes Cuomo’s ‘top-down’ management of New York’s COVID-19 response

NEW YORK (AP) — An investigation into New York’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic found former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “top down” approach of dictating public health policy through his office, rather than coordinating with state and local agencies, sewed confusion during the crisis. In the state’s nursing homes, where some 15,000 people died, the administration’s […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging federal rules to accommodate abortions for workers

CHICAGO (AP) — A lawsuit filed by 17 states challenging federal rules entitling workers to time off and other accommodations for abortions lacks standing, a federal judge in Arkansas ruled on Friday. Republican attorneys general from each state, led by Arkansas and Tennessee, sued the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in April, days after the agency […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — ABC’s “This Week” — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen; Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. ___ NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Reps. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., and Ro Khanna, D-Calif. ___ CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio; Microsoft founder Bill Gates; Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. ___ CNN’s […]

10 hours ago

Parents of Michigan school shooting victims say more investigation is needed