Family of Oxford shooting victim files lawsuit against school district

The family of 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, one of the four students killed at Oxford High School during a shooting, filed a federal lawsuit against the distri
Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 5:51 PM EDT
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OXFORD, Mich. (WNEM) - The family of 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, one of the four students killed at Oxford High School during a shooting, filed a federal lawsuit against the Oxford Community School District.

The lawsuit is calling for accountability and reform to protect students and prevent future shootings. This action comes a day after the group called “Change 4 Oxford” held a press conference saying school leaders aren’t doing enough.

Lori Bourgeau is one of the many parents who spoke out Thursday, saying Oxford Community Schools is not doing enough to prevent the tragedy that took place on Nov. 30 from happening again.

“We felt our school’s administration and school board needed to do more to ensure the safety of our students and staff,” Bourgeau said.

That is when four students were killed, and seven others injured during a shooting at the high school.

Bourgeau believes Oxford Community Schools is dragging its feet. Saying its more concerned with protection from civil liability than getting answers.

“The school board knows an investigation will show the mistakes the administration and board made leading up to Nov. 30. And rather than identifying the security breakdowns and policy holes, that need to be corrected to ensure our students, our teachers, our staff, are safe, they’re protecting themselves,” Bourgeau said.

Another parent, Jeff Jones, believes school administrators are not listening to student concerns.

“Daily, these students need to be picked up from school because they don’t feel safe. And daily, there are medical issues, as well as many students who don’t feel comfortable using restrooms or even to eat in a cafeteria,” Jones said.

Superintendent Ken Weaver released this statement:

“At Oxford Community Schools, our core mission is to educate and support our amazing students to prepare them for success.

As part of our mission, the physical safety and emotional well-being of our students and staff remains our top priority. We also strive each and every day to foster a culture of compassion, understanding, and respect. We value all parent and student input and continue to work with our students and parents through these difficult times.

Since the tragedy on Nov. 30, Oxford Community Schools has engaged our community through meetings, phone calls, town halls, forums, and surveys to listen and garner feedback. Input from our students, staff and families has helped shape and drive our successful return to school plan and our school safety plans. We have also consulted with mental health experts, security experts and local law enforcement in developing our plans.

We have taken numerous specific and tangible steps to promote the physical safety and emotional well-being of our students and staff. Please review the links below for some of these examples in our communications with our district families, all of which are posted on our website:

· March 16 District Safety Update Information

· February 8 Video from Supt. Throne

· Security Information for Upcoming Events

· Details on Fridays Threatening Phone Calls

Our dialogue with our school community is ongoing. As Superintendent, my goal is to create a three-year plan to reclaim our school district with input from our entire school community. To that end, we have offered more than a dozen forums for district parents and Oxford High School students to sign up for to meet with OCS administration. These forums began this past week and are continuing through the next two weeks. We have also sent out numerous surveys to our parents and staff this week and will have our Oxford High School students complete surveys next week regarding security and social-emotional learning.

Our strong attendance rates of over 90 percent across all our schools are a testament to the resilience of our community, the dedication of our staff, students and families, the strength of our plan which was crafted with input from key stakeholders and experts, and our collective refusal to allow the tragic events of Nov. 30 to define us.”

Bourgeau said numerous attempts to convey student concerns and demands with school administrators have been met with little to no answer.

“We can’t fix the problem if we don’t identify the cause,” Bourgeau said.