On Saturday morning, an interesting development happened in the Oxford, Michigan school shooting that left four dead and seven injured.  The parents of the alleged shooter, 15-year old Ethan Crumbley, were arrested and charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter.  A judge ordered bond of $500,000 each and a stipulation that if they are able to make bail, they must wear GPS tracking devices. 

A shocking timeline of events detailed by ABC News lays out what happened in the days leading up to the shooting.  According to prosecutors, on November 26, James Crumbley purchased the weapon for his son, who was with his father and posted pictures of the 9 mm on social media.  Jennifer Crumbley also posted about testing the gun out with Ethan.  Then on Monday, November 29-the day before the shooting, a teacher observed Ethan researching ammunition on his cellphone and notified administration, who made contact with his parents.  According to reports, Jennifer Crumbley’s response was to text her son and say, “lol, I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught”.  Then, the morning of the shooting, Tuesday, another teacher found a picture drawn by Ethan showing violence, blood, and the words “the thoughts won’t stop, help me”.  This teacher also reported the incident to administrators and took a picture of it with their phone.  When Ethan’s parents arrived, he had altered the drawing and school officials told them that they needed to enroll him in counseling within 48 hours.  Not only did they resist, they refused to take Ethan home.  Stunningly, he was allowed to return to class, and we all know how that ended.  Contrast this with reports of Black children as young as six who have had the police called on them and handcuffed because of behavioral issues, while this 15 year old was reported by teachers twice for disturbing actions and neither the parents or the school did anything.  The fact that the school allowed the parents to leave without intervening is also telling.  When my own son was in elementary school, the guidance counselor and other administrators were trying to force us to put him on drugs such as Ritalin.  When I refused, because of serious concerns about the side effects and also because my son was acting out due to anxiety issues and not hyperactivity, I was threatened with having social services called on me.  No such threats were made to the Crumbleys.  

The moral of the story is, in America, if you are a Black child, you can be handcuffed and traumatized by police from a young age if you are deemed a troublemaker, but if you are a young white man with a weapon you can be driven across state lines to kill or told by your mom “not to get caught”.  If you are a Black parent, you can be threatened with child welfare if you dare to disagree with a school recommendation for your child, or even sent to jail for using the wrong address to get your child into a better school but if you are a white parent, you are free to walk away and leave your child at school even when presented with evidence that he is a danger to others.  Now as a result of this double standard, along with America’s unwillingness to enact even the most basic gun control laws, four families are grieving lost loved ones and an entire school community is traumatized.  How many more children have to die before enough is enough?

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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