Family of shooting victim files lawsuit against school district
By James Felton and James Paxson
OXFORD, Michigan (WNEM) – The family of 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, one of four students killed at Oxford High School in a shooting, has filed a federal lawsuit against the Oxford Community School District.
The lawsuit calls for accountability and reform to protect students and prevent future shootings. The action comes a day after the group called ‘Change 4 Oxford’ held a press conference saying school leaders are not doing enough.
Lori Bourgeau was one of many parents who spoke out on Thursday, saying Oxford Community Schools were not doing enough to prevent the tragedy that happened on November 30 from happening again.
“We felt that our school administration and school board needed to do more to keep our students and staff safe,” Bourgeau said.
It was then that four students were killed and seven others injured in a high school shooting.
Bourgeau believes that Oxford’s community schools are dragging their feet. Saying he’s more concerned with protecting against liability than getting answers.
“The school board knows that an investigation will show the errors made by the administration and the board before November 30. And rather than identifying security vulnerabilities and policy gaps, which need to be addressed to ensure our students, our teachers, our staff, are safe, they are protecting themselves,” Bourgeau said.
Another parent, Jeff Jones, thinks school administrators aren’t listening to students’ concerns.
“Every day, these students have to be picked up from school because they don’t feel safe. And on a daily basis, there are medical issues, as well as many students who don’t feel comfortable using the restroom or even eating in a cafeteria,” Jones said.
Superintendent Ken Weaver released this statement:
“At Oxford Community Schools, our core mission is to educate and support our amazing students to set them up for success.
As part of our mission, the physical safety and emotional well-being of our students and staff remains our top priority. We also strive every day to foster a culture of compassion, understanding and respect. We appreciate all parent and student input and continue to work with our students and their parents during these difficult times.
Since the November 30 tragedy, Oxford Community Schools has engaged our community through meetings, phone calls, town halls, forums and surveys to listen and gather feedback. Feedback from our students, staff and families has helped shape and guide our successful return to school plan and school safety plans. We also consulted with mental health experts, security experts and local law enforcement when developing our plans.
We have taken many specific and concrete steps to promote the physical safety and emotional well-being of our students and staff. Please see the links below for some of these examples in our communications with our district families, all of which are posted on our website:
March 16 District Security Update Information
· Supt. Throne
Security information for upcoming events
Friday Threatening Phone Call Details
Our dialogue with our school community continues. As superintendent, my goal is to create a three-year plan to win back our school district with input from our entire school community. To that end, we have offered more than a dozen forums where district parents and Oxford High School students can sign up to meet with the OCS administration. These forums began last week and will continue over the next two weeks. We have also sent many surveys to our parents and staff this week and will be asking our students at Oxford High School to complete surveys next week regarding safety and social-emotional learning.
Our strong attendance rates of over 90 percent in all of our schools are a testament to the resilience of our community, the dedication of our staff, students and families, the strength of our plan which was developed with input of key stakeholders and experts, and our collective refusal to let the tragic events of November 30 define us.
Bourgeau said many attempts to relay student concerns and requests to school administrators have been met with little or no response.
“We can’t solve the problem if we don’t identify the cause,” Bourgeau said.
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