Attorney says critical steps missed before Oxford HS shooting, school had right to search suspect's backpack

Almost a week after four students were killed inside Oxford High School, the investigation and questions about why police liaisons at the school weren't notified about the threats are still simmering.

What protocols were missed in this tragedy, and could the shooting have been prevented? According to a Michigan attorney, who specializes in student's rights, there were some steps that could have been taken.

Oxford High School shooting timeline: Key moments in the case

Michael Kelly said the school had every right to search Ethan Crumbley's backpack when he was in the counselor's office.

He told FOX 2's Jessica Dupnack he was shocked at how Oxford School officials handled the suspect on the day of the shooting. On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Crumbley was called into the counselor's office for a meeting with the counselor and his parents after a teacher found violent drawings including bodies, guns, and threats.

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"The school had enough information that they could have absolutely done more," Kelly said.

Oxford Schools claim that Ethan Crumbley's parents did not want to take him home last Tuesday and that  he didn't have past behavioral issues. But Kelly said someone could have stepped in.

READ MORE: Oxford High School shooting: What’s known about the victims, suspect and parents

"It doesn't absolve the administration from taking that duty to act, because if the parents don't do it the school has to, they must," Kelly said.

Crumbley was sent back to class, believed to have had the gun in his backpack the whole time, and the school resource officer - an Oakland County Sheriff's Deputy - was never alerted.

Safe Havens International analyzes school shootings and helps schools handle threats. Chris Dorn says behaviors like Crumbley's are what they help give schools guidance on.

"The things that we see commonly missed during threat assessments is the involvement of law enforcement. Sometimes they are afraid of giving students a record or they think it's an overreaction to call law enforcement," Dorn said. "What we recommend is a multi-disciplinary threat assessment. That's a threat easement that involves not only an educator but also a mental health professional and law enforcement."

Kelly says, in his experience, it's almost customary to send the student home for the day.

"All school administrators and teachers have the ability to request a one-day suspension of a student without any discussion about it, Take them out of the class," Kelly said.

MORE: Third party to investigate events leading up to shooting at Oxford High School

He speculates civil suits could be filed against the school district but says school officials may have qualified immunity from criminal charges.

"I think it's very different here because I think there were individual actors that deviated from their required duties," Kelly said.

Over the weekend, the school district sent out a statement promising a third party investigation. Attorney General Dana Nessel offered to be the third party but the district has not responded.

It's not yet known if the Oakland County Prosecutor will pursue criminal charges against school leaders.