Attorney suing Oxford Schools criticizes staff for missing multiple red flags

One of the drawings that Ethan Crumbley authored that concerned his teachers to the point they tried notifying faculty at Oxford High School appeared to show a portrait of the teenager holding a firearm and pointing it. Another object could be a magazine. 

The drawing was made on the back of a notecard as part of school assignment given at the beginning of the year. It was one of multiple examples of Crumbley's actions that worried his teachers, leading to them sending their concerns to the school counselor, dean of students, and other faculty. 

The new details come from depositions that an attorney representing victims of the mass Oxford School Shooting did with administrators at the high school. 

Drawing that Ethan Crumbley made on a school assignment. An attorney said it was apparent the teen had erased what looked like a gun from the figure's hand. 

Ven Johnson levied harsh criticisms against both the district as well as Shawn Hopkins the counselor and Nicholas Ejak the dean of students. During a Thursday press conference, he discussed the defendants' testimony, arguing the paint a picture of gross negligence that led to the deaths of four students.

MORE: Ethan Crumbley's journal entries laid out teen's shooting plan, path toward his 'dark side'

It's a "pack of lies," Johnson said, referring to the statements given by officials. "Apparently the only thing that was going to stop Ethan Crumbley from the school's perspective that day was if he had handed him his manifesto and said ‘why don’t you read what I'm going to do today."

As the trials for both the accused shooter and his parents await further developments after being delayed until 2023, Johnson has sued employees of the school district for negligence in failing to protect the victims in the shooting.

Johnson is representing the families of Tate Myre and Justin Shilling, two of the students killed during the Nov. 30 rampage.

MORE: Ethan Crumbley hoped Oxford school shooting would lead to President Biden's impeachment, defense says

According to the depositions the attorney discussed Thursday, teachers of Crumbley sent multiple emails to Hopkins, Ejak, and Pam Fine who was a family school liaison at the district, that discussed the teen's behavior. 

The postcard that Crumbley drew on was made in late August but that his teacher hadn't noticed until the day before the shooting when she decided to look back at some of the teen's work for clues into his mental state. 

A week after that in September, Crumbley's Spanish teacher emailed Hopkins alerting him that the teen had said he "Feels terrible" and a "mistake" in his family. Hopkins didn't respond that day and testified the teacher had told him she was "no longer concerned" upon further reflection. 

But in statements made to the sheriff's office, the teacher was still concerned.

Another new detail came from a student that had spoken to Crumbley in the weeks and days leading up to the shooting, including one instance where he was told by the suspect teen "If I ever tell you not to come to school sometime, don't."

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Johnson said a detail like that would have come out if faculty had decided to investigate the violent ideations that Crumbley had expressed. 

The father of Myre spoke at the press conference, placing blame on the district for failing to properly investigate the events leading up to the shooting. Buck Myre said the lack of transparency on the school's part speaks to its indifference toward the victims.

"As we dig deeper into this, some questions I have is about culture at Oxford Community Schools. Why did the teachers not report this to CPS?" he asked. "Is there something in the culture there telling them not to? I don't know, but obviously the culture is not good there because there is signs, signs, everywhere there's signs."

The Oxford School District declined multiple offers by the state Attorney General to conduct an investigation into the shooting, instead going with a third party firm to look into the events leading up to Nov. 30.