OXFORD, Mich. (WLNS) — A lawsuit has been filed against Oxford Community Schools by 20 high school students in the district, but it’s not money they’re looking for.
While not seeking financial compensation, the suit is aiming to focus on the ways that Oxford allegedly violated students’ rights to a safe, effective learning environment.
The students allege in the complaint that a cover story was fabricated by district officials to help deflect blame from Oxford Community Schools after the school shooting that took place on Nov. 30, 2021.
“We don’t want to be here. Putting our children’s names in a federal lawsuit is a desperate attempt to be heard,” said mother Alicia Feltz. “With the lack of investigation, there is a lack of transparency. With a lack of transparency, there is a lack of accountability. If there is no accountability, trust cannot be rebuilt.”
In the 93-page drafted complaint filed by students, they allege the following was done by OCS:
- Deprivation of Right to Public Education
- Oxford School District and Ken Weaver took away Oxford High School students’ right to public education and will continue to deprive students until the district undergoes a third-party review of the events leading up to the shooting on Nov. 30, 2021.
- Monell Liability
- Oxford Community School District has “unconstitutional” policies in place, which created and increased the risk of the school shooting on Nov. 30, 2021.
- State-Created Danger
- Shawn Hopkins and Nicholas Ejak acted with deliberate indifference to create and increase the risk of violence on Nov. 30, 2021.
- Timothy Throne and Steven Wolf, supervisors at Oxford High School, acted with deliberate indifference to create and increase the risk of violence on Nov. 30, 2021.
“Not once, but three times, the school board rejected the AG’s offer. Which makes me now wonder why they are working so hard to avoid the Attorney General’s help,” said mother April Ventline. “Now, because of the pressure and the loud outcry from families and students, the school board will be doing a third-party review, but overseen by their newly hired attorney with no guarantees they will release all the findings or be transparent.”
Examples of policy changes requested include the following:
- Retraction of all statements made in the course of the district’s alleged cover story following the shooting
- Implementation of an independent third-party review of the actions and events leading up to Nov. 30, 2021
- End to the “practice of concealing and minimizing threats of violence”
- End of returning students to class when there is no “disciplinary issue,” even if the student poses a risk to themselves or others
- Securing training for admin and staff regarding restriction of students from returning to class if they pose a risk to self or others
- Securing training for admin and staff for searches of student belongings when a student poses a safety risk
- Training for admin and staff regarding risk and threat assessments