Today, someone could go up to almost anyone who was in school after 1999 and ask if they have knowledge of what a lockdown procedure is and the answer would be yes. After the tragic shooting at Columbine High School in April of 1999, schools in the United States began implementing shooter drills.
According to the National Education System, 95% of U.S. schools practiced these drills from 2015 to 2016, and since 2018 roughly 4.1 million students have endured a lockdown procedure throughout their educational experience.
Alma College student Willow Nut (‘25) said, “I have been doing drills since elementary. I remember sobbing when I was six or seven in my teacher’s arms because I was so scared.”
However, preparation and knowledge of such situations does not prevent school shootings from taking place. On November 30th of 2021, a fifteen-year-old student opened fire at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan. Eleven people were shot.
Four of the victims—Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; Justin Shilling, 17; and Madisyn Baldwin, 17—died. Other students, ranging from ages 14 to 17, and one teacher faced numerous degrees of injuries.
After arresting the fifteen-year-old student, authorities charged the aggressor, Ethan Crumbly, with one count of terrorism and four counts of first-degree murder. On Dec. 3, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen D. McDonald later charged Crumbly’s parents with involuntary manslaughter, as they concluded they assisted in the incident by purchasing their son a handgun.
The Prosecutor Karen D. McDonald charged Crumbly as an adult rather than a juvenile. As a result, Crumbly could receive a sentence of life in prison. McDonald explained that they had written, recorded and witnessed evidence that Crumbly had preplanned the shooting. Crumbly’s lawyers have claimed “not guilty.”
However, investigation of the incident does not stop at Crumbly and his parents. Oxford Schools district superintendent has informed parents and staff that they will be conducting an investigation of all those associated with the school who may have connections to what led up to the event.
One of the parents of some of the student survivors is also filing a lawsuit against the school for $100 million, explaining that the school had violated the 14th amendment “equal protection of U.S. citizens” and some Michigan laws as well.
In response to Oxford’s sense of responsibility Willow Nutt (‘25) said, “I think Oxford could have taken better precautions. There were several clear signs that the kid was a danger to himself and the school. They actively chose to ignore it, putting the community at risk. Oxford needs to look more into how to address these situations before they happen rather than after.”
As of now, the investigation on Crumbly, the parents of the student and the school are still on-going. Crumbly is being held in an adult jail with no bond. His trial will be revisited within the coming weeks.
In the wake of the fear and caution that these school shooting events can incite, fifteen school districts in the area closed for at least one day. Schools such as Bentley Community Schools even tightened safety restrictions and created more strict lockdown preparations. It is one way in which the school helps transition their students into a comfortable learning environment as they return from online learning.
Alma College student MiShaye Hearn (‘24) said, “It is sad that we have to have school shooter safety precautions on top of Covid-19 restrictions, because school is a place for learning, not a place students should fear. It is difficult having to watch your back with your fellow peers.”