Oxford Schools Superintendent Seeks ‘Full, Transparent’ Review as Nessel Offers to Investigate

Some parents and law enforcement officials wonder if the school should have made sure the suspect never returned to class after being summoned to the office.

State of Michigan
State of Michigan

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says her office is willing to investigate how school officials handled several incidents involving the alleged gunman at Oxford High School.

In a tweet on Sunday, Nessel said her office reached out to the district to conduct “a full and comprehensive review of the 11/30/21 shooting and the events leading up to it.” The offer came after school administrators asked for an independent investigation into how educators dealt with the 15-year-old sophomore in the hours before the deadly shootings began. Four people were killed and seven others were wounded.

The 15-year-old suspect was charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism causing death. On Friday his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were charged with involuntary manslaughter. The couple missed their Friday afternoon arraignment, which led to an hours-long search. They were eventually found hiding in an art studio on the east side of Detroit and arrested early Saturday morning. All three are at Oakland County Jail in isolation, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said during a Saturday press conference.

Some parents and law enforcement officials wonder if the school should have made sure the suspect never returned to class after being summoned to the front office on the day of the shooting. Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne initially addressed the concerns in a video posted a few days afterward.

“There’s been a lot of talk about the student that was apprehended, that he was called up to the office and all that kind of stuff. No discipline was warranted. There are no discipline records at the high school,” he said.

In a public letter published over the weekend, Throne called for an independent investigation into what occurred at the school. Throne wrote that he wanted a “full and transparent accounting.” The superintendent is still defending the actions of school officials. 

The day before the shooting a teacher noticed the suspect looking up photos of ammunition on his phone during class and the teacher reported that to school officials. Later that day, the teen told a counselor shooting sports were a hobby of his family. 

Then the next day, the day of the shooting, a different teacher found a drawing the suspect had done — a picture of a gun, bullet and what appeared to be a person shot twice, along with phrases like “Blood everywhere” and “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.” 

Alex McLenon/WDET
Alex McLenon/WDET

The student was sent to the office, and his parents James and Jennifer Crumbley were called. The boy told educators that the note was part of a video game he was designing and that he wanted to do that for a career. 

The school said he was calm and that he was worried about missing classroom assignments and started doing homework while waiting for his parents to show up. 

After they were asked to take their son home, the parents refused and left without him. School officials say he had no prior disciplinary history so they returned him to class. 

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald says the parents should have known their son was showing dangerous tendencies and had easy access to a 9-millimeter handgun since they allegedly bought it for him as a Christmas present four days beforehand. 

She says the parents’ actions went far beyond mere negligence to becoming criminal behavior. 

Outpouring of Support

In the wake of the shooting, there’s been an outpouring of shock and sympathy — and some cautious steps taken — both here in Michigan and across the country. 

Officials closed hundreds of schools nationwide last week, including several in metro Detroit, and there were dozens of copycat threats of violence called into law enforcement agencies. 

Students and others held vigils here for those who were killed.

The Michigan Wolverines college football team wore the letter “O” on their uniforms and the NFL’s Detroit Lions had the same insignia on their helmets to honor the victims at Oxford High. 

After the Lions won yesterday — their first victory of the year — the coach dedicated the game ball to the Oxford community. 

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.


WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.


Donate today »


  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.