SOUTHFIELD, Michigan: The parents of a 17-year-old girl who was shot in the neck at Oxford High School in a mass shooting that left four students dead have filed a pair of lawsuits targeting 100 million dollars each against a Michigan school district, saying Thursday the violence could have been avoided.
The lawsuits were filed in federal court in Detroit and Oakland County Circuit Court by Jeffrey and Brandi Franz on behalf of their daughters, Riley, a senior who was injured on November 30, and her sister Bella, a ninth year of 14 years old who was next to her when she was shot, said lawyer Geoffrey Fieger.
The parents attended a press conference Thursday with Fieger at his Southfield office. Jeffrey Franz looked stoic, staring ahead as the personal injury lawyer accused school officials and staff at Oxford High of not doing enough to prevent the shooting and protect the students.
Brandi Franz was seated, often with her head bowed. Parents did not speak to reporters.
The lawsuits are the first known civil lawsuits filed in connection with the shooting. The Oxford School District Superintendent Tim Throne, Oxford Secondary School Principal Steven Wolf, two counselors, two teachers and a staff member are named in the lawsuits.
Ten students and a teacher were shot dead in the school in Oxford Township, about 50 kilometers north of Detroit.
Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old sophomore at the school, was arrested at school and charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes. His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were later charged with manslaughter and arrested.
Personal injury attorneys have expressed doubts the school district could be successfully prosecuted for letting Crumbley stay in school. This is because Michigan law sets the bar high to wrest liability from public schools and other branches of government.
“You have to show that the administration or the faculty members were grossly negligent, which means that they did not take into account that an injury was likely to occur,” said lawyer A. Vince Colella.
Fieger acknowledged Thursday that state law makes it difficult to successfully prosecute public bodies like school districts. He said a federal lawsuit allowed him to subpoena the school district for records and evidence related to Crumbley and the shooting.
“I understand it’s not going to be easy,” Fieger said. “However, now is the time to do something about it.”
The weapon used in the shooting had been purchased days earlier by James Crumbley and their son had full access to it, prosecutors said.
The morning before shooting school officials met Ethan Crumbley and his parents after a teacher found a drawing of a gun, a bullet, and a person who appeared to have been shot, along with messages stating “My life is useless” and “The world is dead.”
The Crumbleys “categorically refused” to bring their son home, Throne said.
The Franz family live in Leonard, just northwest of Oxford. One of the trials criticized school officials for failing to expel, discipline or search Crumbley prior to the shooting, which allowed Crumbley to return to his classroom “and carry out his murderous rampage.”
The lawsuit alleges civil rights violations under the 14th Amendment and also said the school district “knew or should have known that the policies, procedures, oversight of training and discipline” of staff members appointed in the prosecution “were inadequate for the tasks required for each accused to perform.
“There is a responsibility that our society shares in protecting our children,” said Fieger. “There is a responsibility among teachers, counselors and school administrators who could easily have prevented and stopped this massacre. “
Riley Franz was hospitalized following the shooting. She is now recovering at home, Fieger said.
A 17-year-old student – the last victim hospitalized for the shooting – was removed from an intensive care unit on Thursday, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said.
She was transferred to a standard room and was to stay in the hospital for the next four to six weeks while undergoing rehabilitation.
A statement posted on the district’s website by Throne on Wednesday said that once all the facts have been obtained and disclosed during the prosecution, he will recommend to the Oxford Education Council that the district initiate a review of its whole system “as other communities have faced similar experiences.
“Our goal with all of this is to put together all the facts about what happened before, during and after this horrific incident,” he wrote. “We are committed to doing this in a way that allows our community to move forward and does not re-traumatize members of our community, who are in shock and suffering from this horrific event.”
Criminal cases against Ethan Crumbley and his parents are overseen by the Oakland County District Attorney’s Office, and the Michigan Attorney General on Tuesday said his office would review events that took place before the mass shooting, despite the district’s rejection. of his offer to be his third party investigator.
The district attorney told the attorney general’s office on Monday that he was fully cooperating with local law enforcement.

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