LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Two lawsuits seeking $100 million dollars each were filed against Oxford Community Schools this morning in the wake of the high school shooting there.
They allege the district did not do enough to prevent it.
The suit was filed in US District Court in Detroit this morning and says the school principal and other staff did not fully investigate parent concerns during a November 16 email exchange.
One legal expert says that holding a district accountable for a school shooting will be a tough legal fight.
“The issue here is when you bring a case against a governmental entity, the laws are different in every state. Most states, including Michigan, has some form of immunity that in most cases make it impossible to sue a governmental entity,” said Bryan Waldman, president of Sinas Dramis Law Firm.
Waldman says today’s lawsuit carries some similarities to those that came out of 2018 Parkland School shooting.
“They said the school district and its employees did things affirmatively to make things worse, to make things less safe to put those students who were shot in harms way, or in a more dangerous position by their actions leading up to this event,” said Waldman.
The plaintiffs in the Oxford Shooting suit are the parents of Riley and Bella Franz.
One of the girls was shot in the neck that day. Her sister was right next to her at the time.
Today well-known Detroit attorney Geoffry Fieger, who is representing the family, said this lawsuit can help spark real change.
“We hope with this lawsuit to make the financial cost of letting children be slaughtered very high so to compel people to do something, if moral responsibility for the last 20 years has proved insignificant to make them act,” said Fieger.
Waldman says that a ruling for the parents could lead to wider changes to how schools handle threats.
“The more that school shootings become unfortunately and horrifically the norm in our society, more school administrators will need to think what their obligations are under state and federal law,” said Waldman.
Some Oxford schools will be slowly reopening Friday with a half-day with resources available to students and staff.