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Oxford Community Schools Face Two $100 Million Lawsuits

Jeffrey Fieger

The family of two survivors of last week’s mass shooting, which killed four students and injured 7 others, have filed a pair of $100 million lawsuits against the Oxford Community Schools district and employees.

Riley Franz was shot in the neck during the attack while standing next to her sister, Bella. Both are listed as plaintiffs in the federal complaint, which alleges multiple failures on the school’s part to prevent the shooting.

The sisters are being represented by prominent attorney Geoffrey Fieger, who also represented the family of a student killed in the Columbine school shooting. Fieger says now is the time for accountability and gun control.

“We can talk about turning our schools into armed fortresses. We can talk about the need for legislation,” said Fieger speaking at a news conference on Thursday. “We’ve been talking for over 20 years. Some of us are tired of talking”

According to Fieger, school officials in this case ignored warning signs.

“We all have to look at what individual responsibility we may have and now we have to do something about it,” he said.

The alleged shooter was allowed to go back to class following a meeting with his parents and school officials after the 15-year-old had been caught with violent drawings and searching for ammunition on his phone.

His backpack was never searched for weapons.

Oxford Schools Superintendent Tim Throne and several school officials, including the principal and two counselors, are listed in the federal suit. Fieger said it’s possible some of those listed in the suit could be dropped if they are not culpable.

School officialsturned down an offer by the Michigan Attorney General to conduct an independent investigation. Fieger says he will be doing his own investigation by way of the discovery process.

“Unfortunately the Oxford school district is not going to be able to decline my offer to conduct an investigation because my offer is not going to be a request but it’s going to be demanded in the form of subpoenas requiring them to turn over the documents,” said Fieger.

There will likely be more lawsuits filed against the district. The alleged shooter and his parents remain in the Oakland County jail. The trio are not listed in the lawsuits.

Russ McNamara is a reporter and host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners.