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Mich. School Rejects AG's Offer to Investigate Shooting

Dana Nessel suggests officials concerned about 'shielding themselves from civil liability'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2021 6:48 AM CST
Oxford HS Turns Down AG's Offer to Investigate Shooting
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks during a news conference in Detroit on Oct. 14, 2021.   (Max Ortiz/Detroit News via AP, File)

(Newser) – Officials at Oxford High School have rejected an offer by the Michigan attorney general to lead an independent review of the actions leading up to the Nov. 30 shooting. Suspected shooter Ethan Crumbley and his parents were called to the office that day after a teacher spotted a graphic drawing of a shooting scene by the 15-year-old, which the teen claimed was related to a video game he was designing, per the Detroit Free Press. Crumbley was then allowed to return to class before allegedly opening fire with a recently acquired handgun, which his parents did not disclose. Oxford Superintendent Tim Throne had promised an outside investigation on Saturday.

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"I thought, 'What better agency to conduct a special review than the Michigan Department of Attorney General?'" Dana Nessel, the top law enforcement officer in the state, said in a CNN interview Monday. But "the school district has turned down our offer and it said they're going to go with a private security firm instead to conduct an internal review." Nessel—who previously noted her office would be able to investigate criminal and civil infractions while an outside law firm would be focused on "protecting their client"—said she was "extremely disappointed" at the decision, per NBC News. She added she hopes the "school district cares as much about the safety of their students as they do shielding themselves from civil liability," per the Free Press.

But it's unlikely that the Oxford district would be held liable for letting Crumbley stay in school, personal-injury lawyer A. Vince Colella told the AP. "You have to show that the administration or faculty members were grossly negligent, meaning they had a reckless disregard for whether an injury was likely to take place," he said. Nessel, however, noted teachers "all over the state have been getting death threats" in response to perceived "actions or non-actions that occurred in Oxford on November 30." She added her office planned to speak to parents and students, while lawyers at the attorney general's office will continue assisting the Oakland County Sheriff's Department and Prosecutor's Office "in any way we can." (Read more Ethan Crumbley stories.)

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