Following the tragic shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan on Nov. 30 that left four people dead and several others injured, the parents of one wounded student have filed two federal lawsuits totaling $200 million against the school district. The parents believe the violence could have been prevented.
As reported by the Associated Press, Jeffrey and Brandi Franz filed a lawsuit in Detroit on behalf of their daughters, Riley, a 17-year-old senior who was shot in the neck and wounded during the attack, and 14-year-old freshman Bella, who was next to her sister in the shooting.
The AP notes these are the “first known civil suits filed in connection with the shooting.” According to the family’s attorney Geoffrey Fieger, the Franz family are going the federal route for the lawsuit because the laws in Michigan make it difficult to successfully hold an entity like a public school liable for incidents such as the massacre 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley is charged with enacting.
Another attorney, A. Vince Colella, highlighted that to successfully sue the school district, the Franz family would have to prove educators and/or staff were “grossly negligent.”
“You have to show that the administration or faculty members were grossly negligent, meaning they had a reckless disregard for whether an injury was likely to take place,” he said.
Regardless, Fieger believes someone needs to be held responsible for allowing the shooting to take place. Ten students and teachers were shot during the Oxford shooting, and four died from their wounds.
“There’s a responsibility that our society shares in protecting our children,” Fieger said in a statement on Thursday. “There is a responsibility among teachers, counselors and school administrators who could easily have prevented and stopped this slaughter.”
Ethan Crumbley was arrested at the school after the shooting and was charged as an adult with murder, terrorism, and other crimes. Crumbley’s parents James and Jennifer were also arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter.