Michigan schools, staff immune to Ethan Crumbley shooting suits

A Michigan judge has ruled that staff at a Detroit-area school cannot be sued for a teen gunman’s mass shooting that left four students dead and seven others wounded.

Oakland County Circuit Judge Mary Ellen Brennan also dismissed Oxford Community Schools from civil lawsuits related to the case, saying then-15-year-old shooter Ethan Crumbley was directly responsible for the Nov. 30, 2021 slaughtering and that the district and its employees were protected by governmental immunity.

“Because it is undisputed that the school district was a government agency engaged in the exercise or discharge of a government function at all times relevant … the school district is immune,” Brennan wrote in an opinion released Friday, according to the Detroit News.

Authorities say Crumbley, now 16, used a semi-automatic handgun to open fire on other teenage students in the halls of Oxford High School.

The four students killed were Tate Myre, 16, Hana St. Juliana, 14, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17. 

The disturbed teen also wounded six other pupils and a teacher.

Ethan Crumbley
Ethan Crumbley killed four students and wounded seven others during a mass shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan in 2021.

Brennan’s ruling doesn’t apply to Crumbley and his parents, who also are named as defendants in civil litigation.

Crumbley pleaded guilty in October to a slew of murder and terrorism charges. Prosecutors have said they’ll seek a life sentence with no chance for parole.

The teen’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are also facing charges of involuntary manslaughter for failing to keep the gun used in the shooting secure at home and failing to reasonably care for their son when he showed signs of mental distress.

Ven Johnson, a lawyer representing the victims and their families, told the Detriot News his clients feel “like the legal system has failed them.”

Oxford High School.
Staff and officials at the Oxford Community Schools district are protected by Michigan government immunity laws in the 2021 mass shooting, a judge ruled.
Getty Images

He said he plans to appeal Brennan’s ruling to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

“On behalf of our Oxford clients, we are deeply saddened and disappointed by Judge Brennan’s dismissal today of all the Oxford Community Schools defendants,” Johnson said.

“We maintain that [Michigan’s] governmental immunity laws are wrong and unconstitutional, and … should be changed immediately.”

The school district didn’t return messages.

with Post wires