Michigan School District Establishes New Post-Shooting Safety Plan | USA News®

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By COREY WILLIAMS and MIKE HOUSEHOLDER, Associated Press

OXFORD, Mich. (AP) — Administrators of a Michigan school district where four students were shot at its high school announced on Tuesday that a zero-tolerance policy for threats was being adopted, along with other initiatives to improve safety.

The Oxford Community Schools Board was told of the changes at its board meeting – two weeks after the November 30 shooting at Oxford Secondary School which also injured six pupils and a teacher.

“Anything remotely violent goes immediately to administration and law enforcement,” said Jill Lemond, assistant superintendent of student services.

Students will also be removed from school until a mental health assessment is completed.

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Law enforcement will also be present at all schools in the district and a security company has been hired to ensure that each building has its own security guard. Backpacks will no longer be allowed in schools and the district is working with a supplier to provide transparent backpacks, she added.

Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old student from Oxford High, has been charged as an adult with murder and other crimes.

His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are charged with manslaughter.

Earlier Tuesday, a judge granted a prosecutor more time to gather and share additional evidence against the parents, in part to give the Michigan community “time to heal” over the holiday season.

They are accused of giving their son access to a gun and failing to intervene when confronted with his disturbing drawings hours before the November 30 shooting.

School officials have been criticized by County Sheriff and Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald for not alerting a school resource officer to their concerns about the teenager and for not searching his bag back to school before allowing him to return to class about three hours before the school shooting about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit.

Lori Bourgeau, 45, an Oxford Village councilor and mother of an 11th grader, pointed to the board and policies in place before the shooting.

“Who is setting the example of where complaints (about students) go?” Bourgeau said during the audience turnout at Tuesday night’s meeting. “You let this stay with the counselor and the dean of students, only. Ammo search. Letters, set photos and there’s no disciplinary record? That’s not OK. Don’t leave a child come in to get ammunition and go back to class. You set the tone. I wish you had done this a month ago. You could have saved lives.

About a dozen of the approximately 80 people present at the council meeting addressed its members.

Shane Gibson, 43, told the council that his daughter, who is in year three, “asked me if she was going to school if she was going to die and it literally broke my heart.”

“The loss of the innocence of these children is most heartbreaking,” he said. “My son and daughter will live with this for the rest of their lives.”

Ethan Crumbley had a brief hearing on Monday and will return on January 7 to allow his attorney to review the evidence.

Her parents were arrested on December 4 while hiding in a commercial building in Detroit, hours after their charges were announced. They remain in jail, apparently unable to post bail of $500,000 each, although defense attorney Shannon Smith said she will seek new terms on January 7.

Judge Julie Nicholson granted a request from prosecutors and defense attorneys to postpone a key hearing that will determine whether the elder Crumbleys will face trial until February 8, instead of moving forward on February 22. December.

“This funeral just ended,” McDonald said. “The prosecutor’s office has a lot of work to do with a lot of victims and families. We don’t think it’s in their interest or in the interests of justice to do this during the holiday season.

The prosecutor said a delay in court proceedings would help his office prepare and also give Oxford “time to heal where possible”.

In court, the Crumbleys sat outside their two attorneys. But when the lawyers rose to speak privately to the judge, James Crumbley said “I love you” to his wife.

They are accused of failing to intervene on the day of the tragedy despite being confronted with a chilling and terrifying message – “blood everywhere” – which was found on the boy’s desk.

Oxford High School has been closed since the shooting. Athletes began returning to competition on Monday.

Other schools in the Oxford district were closed on Tuesday out of “an excess of caution” after an online threat was directed at a college, officials said. Online threats against schools in Michigan have occurred since the shooting and have resulted in closures elsewhere as well as charges. .

AP reporter Ed White in Detroit contributed to this story.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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