Will Michigan School Shooting Lead to Greater Liability Exposure for School Leaders?

Last week’s deadly shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan is likely to intensify the potential of future civil litigation against school administrators for alleged failures to assess and react to the potential for violence. 

Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old sophomore, has been charged in the shooting that killed four fellow students and injured seven others, including a teacher. His parents have also been charged with involuntary manslaughter for failing to intervene on the morning of the attack during a meeting with school leaders about his conduct, including drawings described as “disturbing.” Administrators allowed Crumbley to return to class after his parents refused to withdraw him from classes. The shooting attack followed in the early afternoon. 

“While I don’t foresee more prosecutions in this specific case based on the facts we now know, I suspect this incident will lead to the creation of more aggressive ‘best practices’ for school administrators,” says Lynn Pinker Hurst & Schwegmann appellate partner David Coale. “If districts and administrators fail to follow their own policies it almost certainly would lead to lawsuits.”  

For more information or to interview David Coale, please contact Sophia Reza at 800-559-4534 or sophia@androvett.com. 

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