(TheDailyHorn.com) – In the wake of the recent Oxford High School shooting, there has been a flurry of lawsuits filed that could change the handling of similar issues in the future. Safety is the top priority, with a focus on parent responsibility for guns and how schools respond to potential campus security problems.
Prosecutors charged the parents of 15-year-old suspect Ethan Crumbley for their part in the shooting. James and Jennifer Crumbley stand accused of involuntary manslaughter for failing to ensure the security of the gun their son allegedly used in the incident.
Such charges are unheard of in school shooting cases. Prosecutors have never brought charges against any other parent of an alleged school shooter for the deaths or injuries of victims. There have been previous cases for negligence only.
The charges in this case could serve as a warning to other parents about their obligation to secure firearms and restrict access to them to help prevent on-campus incidents. They could also lead to increased investigations of parents to see if they ignored warning signs.
School Responsibility Questioned
Parents of the victims have also filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of two students. One of the students watched the other get shot in the neck during the rampage.
The case alleges the school failed in its duty to provide a safe and secure campus. The lawsuit claims that school officials violated the student’s 15th Amendment rights by ignoring an issue and not doing enough to prevent violence.
The parents explain the school should have called the police when counselors became aware of Crumbley’s violent tendencies and indicated his intention to act on them. Instead, just hours before the incident, they held a meeting with his parents, decided there was nothing of concern, and sent him back to class.
The lawsuit alleges the school also knew about threatening social media posts made by the 15-year-old, but ignored them and failed to make a report to the school safety officer.
The case will require an examination of the steps the school took and whether personnel followed proper protocols. It will also investigate school policies and whether they were enough to prevent the incident had officials followed them.
This lawsuit could change the way schools and staff members handle threats or potential issues in the future. It also might significantly expand the role educators have in helping to prevent campus violence.
The cases coming out of this school shooting are truly unique. They may reflect the exhaustion the public feels about these recurring events. It is possible the lawsuits could have profound effects on the future of how schools and parents handle gun safety, violence threats, and overall school safety.
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