OXFORD, Mich. — Oxford Community Schools has rejected a second offer from the Michigan Attorney General’s office to investigate a school shooting in November. The school board said it would launch a third-party investigation after the civil cases against the district are argued.
The school board said it is cooperating fully with the Oakland County prosecutor’s investigation and will continue to do so.
Ethan Crumbley, a former student of Oxford High School, is accused of shooting and killing four other students at the school on November 30. He has pleaded not guilty and is due to stand trial in September.
His parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, also face four counts of manslaughter for allegedly failing to recognize their son’s warning signs in the months leading up to the murder of his classmates. Two judges refused to reduce their bond.
The Crumbleys have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A lawsuit alleges the district ignored warning signs before the shooting, which the district has denied. The council said the reports and analyzes will be made public throughout the litigation process.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel criticized the council’s rejection of his office’s offer.
“I am deeply disappointed by the school board’s repeated rejection of my offers to conduct an independent and thorough review of systems and procedures in the days leading up to and on November 30, 2021,” Nessel said in a statement Wednesday.
She said her department would only be able to conduct a full and thorough review with the cooperation of the school board and the district.
“Absent this partnership, I am limited to publicly available information that we have all read and reviewed,” Nessel said.
The school board said it would wait to launch the third-party investigation and said it would engage experts as part of the litigation process to thoroughly examine the tragedy and the events that preceded it.
“Ongoing criminal cases have understandably delayed the release of information that may be critical to our in-depth investigation. Oxford Community Schools is also responding to numerous state and federal lawsuits that will require the attention and time of our legal team, our staff and the board,” the school board said in a statement Tuesday.
The council added: “Once the litigation process is complete and all information has come to the surface, a team of experts will conduct a third-party review.”
The council also said it was working on a three-year recovery plan which is currently being developed by the superintendent and district administration. Once completed, the plan will be reviewed by a third party before being implemented at the start of the 2022-2023 school year.
Third-party group Secure Education Consultants also conducted an independent review of all security practices and procedures in the district, the council said.
Nessel claimed that the board’s rejection hindered transparency.
“The rejection sends a message that the council is more focused on limiting liability than on responding to the outcry from the Oxford community to provide greater peace of mind to pupils, parents and educators who have experienced this traumatic event,” she said.
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