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Oxford students file lawsuit against school district

By Rayvin Bleu and Chandler Pawloski

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    OXFORD, Michigan (WNEM) — After a deadly mass shooting inside Oxford High School where four students were killed and several others were injured, a group of students have now filed another lawsuit against the district pushing for policy changes.

Parents and students in the school district continue to call for an independent investigation, but that call has yet to be answered.

“How was a damaged young man able to knock down every safety protocol the school had in place,” said April Ventline, parent of an Oxford High School student.

Twenty Oxford High School students have filed a federal lawsuit against the Oxford School District hoping to force policy changes to make the district enact better safety protocols in response to the school board’s actions following the deadly November 2021 mass shooting.

Parent group #change4oxford made the announcement Friday morning.

The lawsuit seeks to have a fully transparent and independent third party investigation into the events and actions that led up to the shooting.

“In the week following the shooting, details began to emerge regarding meetings that took place with the shooter and his parents. School officials were vague in their statements and withholding even the names of those involved,” said Andrea Jones, another parent.

The lawsuit claims the district violated the students’ rights to a safe and effective learning environment. Parents say inquiries into the investigation on how the shooter was able to get into the school were deflected at school board meetings and questions about updates to security and policy changes went unanswered.

“The trust had been shattered and it was their duty to restore it. We continue to wait for answers and get the policies in place that we desperately need so that another tragic event does not play our community. We need answers to be able to fix what went wrong,” Jones said.

In an effort to assist the school district with the investigation into the shooting, Attorney General Dana Nessel offered to do the investigation at no cost to the district but they refused.

“Not once, but three times the school board rejected the AG’s offer, which makes me want now to wonder why are they working so hard to avoid the Attorney General’s help?” Ventline said.

Parents say the school district has not been proactive in keeping students safe and the safety measures that have been implemented are not enough and have not been consistent.

“Neither of these safety protocols have been consistent, and it leaves the students – including my freshman daughter – feeling unsafe around her peers daily. It affects her ability to pay attention in class, wondering if the child sitting next to her with an unclear bag alongside his clear backpack was searched,” said Alicia Phelps, another parent.

The lawsuit does not seek monetary damages.

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