School That Sent Alleged Shooter Back to Class: We're Not to Blame

District responds to lawsuit after mass shooting
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2022 2:28 AM CST
School That Sent Alleged Shooter Back to Class: We're Not to Blame
The American flag flies at half-staff on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, outside of Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich.   (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP, File)

(Newser) – Nearly two months after a lawsuit was filed accusing Oxford High School officials of failing to heed warnings of the school shooting that ultimately took the lives of four students on Nov. 30, the Michigan school district has issued its first formal response. "Defendants deny that they breached any duties and, further, deny that they were negligent in any manner," the district's attorney said in a court filing Friday cited by the Detroit Free Press. Officials "strictly observed all legal duties and obligations" and were "careful, prudent, proper and lawful," he writes. They are also immune from liability because they were performing "governmental functions," he claims.

According to the lawsuit, the accused mass shooter was caught searching for ammunition on his phone during class the day before the shooting, and the following day made a violent drawing, including a gun and the words "The thoughts won't stop. Help me," on a test review sheet, Fox 2 Detroit reports. Despite that, he was allowed to return to class after he and his parents were called to the office over the drawing, and no one searched his backpack—which held the gun used hours later in the shooting, police say. The lawsuit argues he should have been removed from school premises. But the district's lawyer argues that the harm caused to students was carried out only by the suspect, not the school. (More on the lawsuit here.)

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