By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
A civil lawsuit filed on behalf of slain student Hana St. Juliana’s family on Thursday, April 14 accuses Oxford Community Schools of perpetrating a cover-up in the aftermath of the Nov. 30 Oxford High School shooting.
Filed by Attorney Michael Pitt, the lawsuit argues OHS staff knew the shooter was suicidal or homocidal but released him back to class.
“The District has denied knowing that [the shooter] was suicidal and harboring homicidal ideation,” the lawsuit says. “In truth, the District did know that [the shooter] was suicidal and possibly homicidal when he was released from the Counselor’s office. The District has advanced the ‘adherence to policy’ explanation to cover up its culpability for this tragedy. The truth is that school officials escalated the danger by releasing [the shooter] from a safe zone with knowledge of [the shooter’s] propensity to inflict harm upon himself or others.”
Defendants named in the case include OCS, former superintendent Tim Throne, current superientant Ken Weaver, OHS principal Steven Wolf, OCS dean of students Nicholas Ejak and OHS counselor Shawn Hopkins.
The St. Juliana lawsuit is the fourth civil suit filed against OCS. The first suit was filed in December 2021 by Geoffery Feiger on behalf of students Bella and Riley Franz, followed by a January 2022 suit by Ven Johnson on behalf of the Myre family. A third lawsuit was filed in February 2022 by Robert Giroux on behalf of students John Asciutto, Anthony Asciutto II and Marco Vackaro.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel restated her intention to conduct an independent review of OHS’ actions following a meeting with parents at the Legacy Center on Tuesday, April 19. Nessel initially called for a review in December 2021 and expects the district to respond to her latest request by May 20.