Deadliest school shooting since 2018

Photo+by+Eric+Seals+from+US+Today+Network

Photo by Eric Seals from US Today Network

Abigail Vondy, Editor in Chief

Yet another school shooting has shaken the country. On Nov. 30,  a sophomore at Oxford High School in Michigan brought a 9mm Sig Sauer SP pistol to school. After exiting the bathroom at around 12:51, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley shot 11 people. Four students were killed and seven others were severely injured. The four students include 14-year-old Hanna St. Juliana, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin, 16-year-old Tate Myre, and 17-year-old Justin Shilling. 

According to Education Week, the Oxford High shooting was the deadliest school shooting since May 2018. This time-lapse in school shootings is, unfortunately, a direct result of the COVID pandemic. In 2020, schools across the nation were learning remotely. The decrease in school shootings is due to the small number of students attending in-person education for the last two years. Now, as the world slowly returns to some form of normalcy, students are attending school more regularly. And the statistics prove it. 

 

According to Education Week, since January 2021, there have been 31 school shootings. 23 of them were after Aug. 1. In one year, 65 people have been injured or killed in a school shooting. In 2020 there were 10 school shootings with 12 people injured or killed. In 2019 it was 24, with 40 people injured or killed, and in 2018 it was 24 with 114 injured or killed. 2018 was once considered the deadliest year for school shootings. But as the numbers rise and shootings continue, the year of 2021 is on track to beat it, and quickly. 

In 1999, the Columbine High School shooting stopped the country in its tracks. But as time progressed, school shootings became increasingly more common. The nation is now desensitized to these horific murders. In 2021, such an event is considered as just a headline in the news. It is just another shooting, just another kid who brought a gun to school. 

According to the New York Times, Oxford High shooter Ethan Crumbley was called to the office the morning of the shooting to discuss a drawing one of his teachers discovered. Only three hours before he shot up his school, he and his parents consulted with administrators. Concerns had developed from “a detailed drawing of a gun, a person who had been shot, and blood everywhere with the written words: ‘Blood everywhere,’ and ‘The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.’’ After Crumbley’s parents dismissed the concerns, Ethan continued to walk the halls that day. It is also assumed that during the meeting, Crumbley already had the pistol in his backpack. 

15-year-old Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with 24 counts, including four counts of first-degree murder and terrorism causing death. His parents are also being charged with involuntary manslaughter, having gifted Ethan with the pistol. 

His parents are being charged based on the following evidence:

  • Failure to store the gun in a locked safe
  • Failure to sound alarm to police and school authorities about their son’s concerning behaviors
  • Failure to disclose Ethan Crumbley’s desire to purchase large amounts of bullets

According to Daily Mail, it is rare for the parents to be prosecuted for involvement in school shootings, but with the profound amount of evidence, prosecutor Karen McDonald feels it is necessary in order to invoke complete justice. 

 

2021 has now seen the deadliest school shooting since 2018, and the statistics show a high probability of more. After two years of isolation and fear, mental health is suffering more than ever.  Schools all across the nation need to open their eyes wider and listen a little more. For each of the deadliest school shootings in the nation, there have been warning signs:

  • Sandy Hook shooting, Dec. 14, 2012. Adam Lanza killed 27 people, including himself. Lanza had previous mental health concerns including concerning pieces of writing and one event where he had shown his teacher cuts on his arms during class. 
  • Virginia Tech shooting, April 16, 2007. Seung-Hui Cho killed 33 people, including himself. Cho had written two extremely concerning and violent plays for his English class. A note was also found that said “you caused me to do this.”
  • Parkland High shooting, Feb. 14, 2018. Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people. Cruz was always violent as a kid. Getting angry over video games would result in him punching walls, throwing things, and stabbing the couches with knives. Cruz was also caught by his mother blaring “Pumped Up Kicks” with his shotgun pretending to shoot people. 

The list continues in the most horrifying fashion. There were warning signs for every single shooting. Signs that should have been recognized and handled. For the past two years in a pandemic, teachers and staff all over the nation have put an emphasis on mental health. But with these statistics, it looks as though it is all talk. Schools must recognize the warning signs and provide these children with the means to get help. Mental health is now more important than ever. Something must change before 2021 becomes the deadliest year for school shootings.