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AG Nessel offers independent review of school’s actions related to Oxford shooting

Dana Nessel
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Update: Tuesday, December 7 at 9:15 a.m.

Michigan’s attorney general said her office won’t be the agency to conduct a school district’s planned third-party investigation into the events at Oxford High School that occurred before last week’s school shooting that left four students dead.

Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne has said a third party will investigate. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel had offered that her office could conduct it, but she said in statement late Monday that the school district had declined her offer.

“Despite this outcome, my department will continue to support the ongoing criminal investigation in Oakland County and looks forward to meeting with parents, students and teachers when they are ready to share their thoughts,” she said. Nessel has said she could still investigate.

The Associated Press sent a message seeking comment Tuesday from the school district.

Original Post: Sunday, December 5 at 5:29 p.m.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has offered to conduct an investigation into the Oxford Community Schools’ handling of events leading up to last week’s deadly high school shooting. That’s in response to the district superintendent’s promise of an independent review.

Nessel said Sunday that her office is the best entity to conduct an outside review that’s not beholden to the district or school officials as clients. Nessel said her office also has attorneys and investigators who can handle civil and criminal legal questions.

“I see a community that’s not just in mourning but also outraged because they’re wondering what school officials knew and when they knew it and whether different actions could have led to a far less tragic result,” she told Michigan Public Radio.

There are questions over whether school officials were aware of the shooter’s state of mind, and whether he should have been sent home earlier that day after some troubling behavior. Four students were killed and seven others wounded in the rampage.

Fifteen-year-old Ethan Crumbley has been charged with four counts of murder, as well as terrorism and assault with intent to murder. His parents have also been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

All of them are being held in the Oakland County jail.

Nessel did not rule out her office conducting its own inquiry regardless of whether the school district agrees to the offer. She said her office is also interested in determining if there were policy or systemic failures.

“This is not just about addressing harmful acts,” she said. “It’s also looking to see how we can do better.”

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.