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Expert: Schools should have flagged behavior before the Michigan school shooting

PONTIAC, MICH. – Warning signs are in place: Look for gun bullets on mobile phones, bloodstains on the study table and a text asking for help.

But on Tuesday, about 50 kilometers north of Oxford High School in Detroit, the student in question was returned to the classroom after a meeting at the school with parents. Three hours later, four students were shot dead and six other students and a teacher were injured.

Robert Jordan, founder and director of our St. “People have died because of those mistakes.”

In addition to Jordan, parents of students killed in a 2018 school shooting in Florida say police should have been alerted to Tuesday’s riot.

The suspect in the Oxford High shooting, Ethan Crumbley, 15, is now charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other counts.

On Friday, prosecutors charged his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

They pleaded not guilty on Saturday and a judge imposed a $1 million compound bond.

Authorities say the 9mm semi-automatic pistol used in the shooting was purchased by James Crumbley at a local gun store on Black Friday as an early Christmas present for his son who was too young to own. legally own a handgun in Michigan.

School officials became concerned about Crumbley on Monday, the day before the shooting, when a teacher saw him searching for ammunition on his phone, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen said. McDonald told reporters.

On Tuesday, a teacher found a notepad on Ethan’s desk and took a photo. It was a drawing of a gun pointed at the words, “Thoughts won’t stop. Help me,” McDonald said.

There was also a drawing of a bullet, she said, with the words above it: “Blood everywhere.” Between the gun and the bullet was a person who appeared to have been shot twice and was bleeding, she said. “My life is useless” and “The world is dead” are also written.

Both parents and Ethan met with school officials at 10 a.m. Tuesday. His parents leave, and Ethan returns to his classroom with his backpack, where investigators believe he stored the gun.

Authorities were not notified, which County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said he wished was fulfilled.

By 1 p.m. Tuesday, the school erupted in gunfire, chaos, and bloodshed.

“Schools have a responsibility to assess the immediate threat to students and include that conversation with the police,” said Lori Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa, was one of the 17 students killed. sworn police and law enforcement agencies. in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida.

“They should definitely search his pockets to make sure he doesn’t have a gun, and then go to his house to make sure he doesn’t have access. This shooting should never have happened. “

About five weeks before the Stoneman Douglas shooting, an FBI tip line received a call saying that former student Nikolas Cruz had purchased a gun and was planning to “sneak into a school and start shooting the place.” this.”

That information was never passed on to the FBI. Cruz, who had been expelled from school a year earlier and had a long history of emotional and behavioral problems, was never contacted.

Now 23, Cruz pleaded guilty in October to 17 counts of first-degree murder.

“We have to take these threats seriously,” Alhadeff said.

“It makes me angry, upset,” she added. “It breaks my heart for the families who have lost someone. Knowing what we know now about the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, we have to take these (threats) seriously. “

Christopher Smith, a professor of Law and Public Policy at Michigan State University and president of the Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, says looking at such an issue after fact raises questions. is different.

You have to consider whether “teachers and school officials are particular in their training that you need to report all of this,” says Smith.

“It’s easy to say that everyone should do this and this and this,” he added. “If that’s not part of the training, we have to wonder if it’s realistic to expect someone to report this.”

An email left to Oxford Community School District Superintendent Tim Throne on Friday was not returned, nor were requests for comment earlier this week.

In a video message to the community on Thursday night, Throne acknowledged the meeting of Crumbley, parents and school officials. Throne did not provide details but said that “no discipline is guaranteed.”

Jordan said more work was needed after the problems were noticed by school officials on Monday and Tuesday and before the shooting occurred.

“They should have called the parents to evacuate the child,” he said. “They should then look at social media to see if they can spot any kind of conspiracy. All of this is in an effort to prevent school shootings.”

Any teacher who notices related behavior should report it to school administrators, and administration should follow district policies, which “hopefully include the ability to conduct a behavioral threat assessment, get the child’s help before they resort to violence,” said Tony Montalto, whose 14-year-old daughter Gina was also killed in 2018 at Stoneman Douglas.

“You bring the experts together and figure out the best way to get student help,” says Montalto. “Early intervention is the best way to come together. By the time it rises to criminal activity or homicide, it’s too late.”

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