Ethan Crumbley: School Responds To Accusations It Ignored Warning Signs


Damir Mujezinovic

Ethan Crumbley opened fire inside Michigan's Oxford High School on Tuesday, killing four fellow students and injuring seven.

Ethan has been charged as an adult with murder, terrorism, assault and weapons possession, and authorities believe the attack was premediated. His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, have both been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

As authorities seek to hold James and Jennifer accountable, many are wondering if Ethan's high school also dropped the ball and missed warning signs.

Read more below.

Red Flags

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said at a press conference Friday that teachers and school officials were disturbed by Ethan's behavior.

McDonald said that days before the shooting a teacher saw Ethan searching ammunition on his cellphone and notified school officials. The parents were contacted, but never responded.

On the day of the shooting, a teacher saw a note on Ethan's desk that contained disturbing drawings and statements such as "the thoughts won't stop, help me."

James and Jennifer were called to school and told to get their son into counseling, but they left without him.

School Responds

Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne issued a letter responding to accusations that Ethan's high school could have done more to prevent the mass shooting.

Thorne said Ethan was sent to class when his parents refused to take him home because he "had no prior disciplinary infractions."

"Given the fact that the child had no prior disciplinary infractions, the decision was made [that] he would be returned to the classroom rather than sent home to an empty house," Thorne wrote, as reported by The Daily Beast.

"These incidents remained at the guidance counselor level and were never elevated to the principal or assistant principal’s office," he added.

Disturbing Drawings

When asked about the disturbing and violent drawings, Ethan said they were part of a video game he was creating. The school apparently accepted this explanation after an interview with the teen and both of his parents.

"While both of his parents were present, counselors asked specific probing questions regarding the potential for self-harm or harm to others. His answers, which were affirmed by his parents during the interview, led counselors to again conclude he did not intend on committing either self-harm or harm to others," Thorne wrote.

School Blames Parents

[10 Tampa Bay][YouTube]

In his letter, Thorne appeared to place the blame on James and Jennifer, writing that they "never advised the school district that he had direct access to a firearm."

Thorne stressed that Ethan's parents "flatly refused" to take their son home, despite school officials repeatedly asking them to do so.

"While we understand this decision has caused anger, confusion and prompted understandable questioning, the counselors made a judgment based on their professional training and clinical experience and did not have all the facts we now know," he concluded.