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December 18, 2021

‘National Shoot Up Your School Day’: Viral TikTok Trend Sends School Districts Scrambling

School districts nationwide bolstered security following a viral TikTok trend called “National Shoot Up Your School Day,” encouraging students to “call in bomb threats, school shooting threats, etc.”

The vague, anonymous posts had many educators on edge after the deadly school shooting in Oxford, Michigan, which sparked an onslaught of copycat threats.

“We are writing to inform you and not alarm you,” Oak Park and River Forest, Illinois, officials wrote in an email to parents. “We have been made aware of a nationwide viral TikTok trend about ‘school shooting and bomb threats for every school in the USA even elementary’ on Friday, December 17.”

Though administrators said they didn’t find the threats credible, several districts canceled classes altogether out of an abundance of caution.

“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” the social media company wrote on Twitter.

The “Shoot Up Your School Day” challenge marks the latest entry in a disturbing trend, wherein students commit crimes to participate in a social media fad.

In September, students across the country posted videos of themselves vandalizing school bathrooms and stealing objects like stall doors and soap dispensers. The behavior was part of the “devious licks” challenge.

According to the Associated Press, the following month, “students were challenged to slap a teacher, prompting the National Education Association to call on the leaders of Facebook, Twitter and TikTok to intervene.”


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Schools step up security in response to threats on TikTok

December 17, 2021

Sheriff’s Office Faces Outrage After Sharing Photo of Santa Getting Handgun Permit

Colorado’s El Paso County Sheriff’s Office faced outrage after tweeting a photo of a man dressed as Santa Claus applying for a concealed handgun permit.

“Guess who came in to receive his concealed handgun permit today?” the sheriff’s office tweeted alongside the photo and a Santa Claus emoji.

“Did you know the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has issued 49,750 concealed handgun permits with another 2,560 awaiting to be issued?” the tweet continued, concluding with a link to its website for more information on how to obtain a concealed handgun permit.

Many people took exception to the post, finding the timing insensitive given the recent shooting at a high school in Oxford, Michigan.

“I’m sitting here in downtown Oxford, MI, waiting for the candlelight vigil to start to pay tribute to four students who were murdered by a handgun smuggled into the school. But by all means, tell kids Santa carries a concealed weapon,” one person wrote.

“Respectfully, as an Australian, this sort of thing very neatly illustrates the US’s completely insane & deeply unhealthy relationship with firearms,” another wrote.

The sheriff’s office posted an explanation later that same day.

“EPSO intended to highlight our staff in the Concealed Handgun Permit Office, not to be insensitive. Santa correlates to the month of December and we thought he would help to recognize our hard working staff,” the tweet read.


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Outcry after Colorado sheriff’s office tweets photo of Santa getting handgun permit

December 11, 2021

Oxford High School Shooting Victim’s Parents File $100M Lawsuits

The parents of a high school senior shot in the neck during a mass shooting at Oxford High School filed a pair of $100 million lawsuits against the school district, alleging that the violence was preventable.

Jeffrey and Brandi Franz filed the suits in federal court in Detroit and Oakland County Circuit Court on behalf of their daughters. Riley Franz, 17, was wounded in the attack, while her ninth-grade sister Bella, 14, was next to her.

The filings are the first civil suits connected to the shooting, filed against the Oxford school district, Superintendent Tim Throne, principal Steven Wolf, two counselors, two teachers, and an additional staff member.

Ethan Crumbley, 15, shot ten students and a teacher, leaving four people dead, on Nov. 30. He’s been charged as an adult with a litany of crimes, including murder and terrorism. His parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, were arrested for involuntary manslaughter charges.

However, personal injury lawyers seem dubious that lawsuits against the school district would be successful.

“You have to show that the administration or faculty members were grossly negligent, meaning they had a reckless disregard for whether an injury was likely to take place,” said attorney A. Vince Colella.


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School district faces two $100M suits after Oxford shootings

December 7, 2021

Oxford Shooting: Prosecutor Doesn’t Rule Out Charges Against School Officials

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald hasn’t ruled out the possibility of bringing charges against Oxford High School officials for their role in last week’s deadly shooting.

During an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, McDonald said the investigation will determine whether school officials will face charges. She noted that three hours before Ethan Crumbley opened fire, he was sent back to class after a meeting with school counselors and his parents over a drawing a teacher found on his desk that included a bullet, a gun, and the words “blood everywhere.”

“In this case a lot could have been done different. I mean at that meeting he was allowed to go back to school,” McDonald said.

Tim Throne, superintendent of the Oxford school district, confirmed that Crumbley and his parents met with counselors on the day of the shooting. He said counselors didn’t believe Crumbley would harm others.

Jennifer and James Crumbley were asked to take their son home but “flatly refused,” Throne said.

“We know that he either had that weapon with him or someplace where he could have stored it in the school. But he had it in the school, there’s no question. And leaving the decision to parents about whether he goes home or not …” she added, not finishing her sentence.

McDonald said that Crumbley’s parents didn’t mention that Ethan had access to a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. Authorities say he used the gun to carry out the attack and that his father bought it for him at a local gun shop on Black Friday as an early Christmas present. According to Michigan law, minors cannot possess guns except in limited situations, such as hunting with an adult.

“You can’t even in an airport mention anything that even remotely indicates that there might be some sort of violence on a plane. You’ll be immediately extracted. And yet we have a kid who is … saying some pretty concerning things and he was allowed to go back to school, and neither parent mentions that he had access to a weapon,” McDonald said.

McDonald said prosecutors have evidence suggesting that the couple “purchased that weapon for their 15-year-old and bragged about it online — thought this was some joyous occasion as a present.”

And she said the teen had access to the gun “whether it was locked or not” at his family’s home.

Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with murder, terrorism, and other crimes in the assault. Jennifer and James Crumbley each face four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

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Prosecutor criticizes school over run-up to mass shooting

December 6, 2021

Keith Olbermann Blasted Over Bizarre Oxford High Shooting Tweet

Left-wing pundit Keith Olbermann was sharply criticized over a bizarre tweet he wrote connecting the Oxford High School shooting to Barstool Sports and the shooter’s mother’s support of former President Donald Trump.

Olbermann quote-tweeted an article from Barstool Sports that memorialized a student killed during the shooting, penning an odd remark.

“This kid died to stop a school shooter whose mother echoed the Trumpist Fascism of [founder Dave Portnoy] and @barstoolsports,” Olbermann wrote.

“In a world where, in the wake of tragedy, it is oftentimes the perpetrator of terrible acts whose name is plastered across the media and talked about, today we should really discuss Tate Myre – a junior student-athlete who died trying to stop an armed gunman,” said blogger Billy Football, who wrote the article.

Portnoy’s response was more succinct.

“Dude wtf is wrong with you?” he wrote.

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Keith Olbermann roasted for bizarre tweet tying Michigan High School shooting to Barstool Sports, Trump

December 3, 2021

BREAKING: Parents Charged in Michigan School Shooting

The parents of the 15-year-old charged in the Oxford High School shooting have been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, both face four counts of involuntary manslaughter, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced on Friday. If convicted, they could face up to 15 years in prison.

“All I can say at this point is those actions on mom and dad’s behalf go far beyond negligence,” McDonald said Thursday ahead of the charges.

Investigators said James Crumbley purchased the semi-automatic gun last week and gave it to his son.

“The parents were the only individuals in the position to know the access to weapons,” McDonald said on Thursday, ahead of the charges. She noted the gun “seems to have been just freely available to that individual.”

Behind the charges

At a news conference on Friday, McDonald announced the charges against the parents and revealed the details that led to them.

“While the shooter was the one who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there are other individuals who contributed to the events on November 30, and it’s my intention to hold them accountable as well,” McDonald said. “It’s imperative we prevent this from happening again. No other parent or community should have to live through this nightmare.”

McDonald said that Crumbley’s parents were summoned to the school after a teacher found — and took a photo of — a drawing of a semi-automatic gun pointing at the words “the thoughts won’t stop, help me.” In another section of the paper was a drawing of a bullet below the words “blood everywhere.”

The paper also included a picture of a bleeding person who’d been shot twice. “Below that figure is a drawing of a laughing emoji,” the prosecutor said.

Crumbley’s parents were immediately summoned to the school, and a school counselor removed the shooter from his classroom, bringing him to the office with his backpack.

“The counselor had obtained the drawing, but the shooter had already altered it,” McDonald said. The shooter had “scratched out” the bullet, gun, and troubling words.

The parents were shown the drawing and advised they were required to get their son into counseling within 48 hours.

McDonald said the parents “failed to ask their son if he had his gun with him or where his gun was located and failed to inspect his backpack for the presence of the gun, which he had with him.” And they also “resisted the idea of their son leaving the school at that time.”

Ethan Crumbley was returned to the classroom and later emerged from a bathroom, firing a gun at students.

McDonald said Jennifer Crumbley sent a text to her son after the news of an active shooter at Oxford High School became public. The text said, “Ethan, don’t do it.”

Fifteen minutes later, James Crumbley called 911 to report that a gun was missing from his home, and he believed his son might be the active shooter. The prosecutor said, “the SIG Sauer 9mm handgun purchased by James Crumbley was stored unlocked in a draw in James and Jennifer’s bedroom.”

“I want to be really clear that these charges are intended to hold the individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable, and also send a message that gun owners have a responsibility. When they fail to uphold that responsibility, there are serious and criminal consequences,” McDonald said.

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Prosecutor: Michigan school shooting suspect wrote ‘help me’

December 3, 2021

Michigan Inundated with Copycat Threats Following Oxford High School Shooting

Oakland County is inundated with copycat school shooting threats almost immediately following four students were killed and seven others injured by a student who opened fire at Oxford High School.

Sheriff Michael Bouchard called such threats “some weird anomaly” that has become commonplace nationwide.

“Every time something like this happens in the country, there’s a whole bunch of copycat threats and texts and pictures,” Bouchard said during a press conference. “It really burdens law enforcement all across the nation.”

Several area high schools canceled classes after such threats were made, regardless of their credibility.

A spokesperson for the Waterford School District said Waterford Mott High School students were sent home early while police investigated an “unsubstantiated threat.”

In Southfield, a 17-year-old student was arrested for allegedly bringing a loaded handgun to school.

On Thursday, a female student was arrested for threatening to “shoot up” Stevenson High School in Sterling Heights.

Local media reported that many school districts are also closing Friday due to an abundance of threats shared on social media.

The sheriff reiterated that anyone who makes such a threat — regardless of its credibility — will be charged.

“If you make a threat, we’re gonna seek charges,” Bouchard said.

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Bouchard: Copycat threats, credible or not, will be charged

December 2, 2021

Sheriff Says Oxford High Shooting Was Premeditated, Parents May Face Charges

Authorities in Oakland County, Michigan, charged a 15-year-old boy with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder, and terrorism, after he opened fire at his high school. Officials revealed additional details on Wednesday, including additional casualties and a meeting between school administrators and the suspect’s parents just a few hours before the violence.

Prosecutor Karen McDonald said the shooting was premeditated “based on a mountain of digital evidence” against Ethan Crumbley.

“This was not just an impulsive act,” McDonald said.

Crumbley was charged as an adult, and defense attorney Scott Kozak entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Assistant prosecutor Marc Keast successfully argued for no bail for Crumbley, who was transferred to jail from a juvenile detention facility.

“He deliberately brought the handgun that day with the intent to murder as many students as he could,” Keast said.

Keast said Crumbley entered a bathroom with a backpack and came out with a semi-automatic handgun, firing at students while moving down the hallway. The four victims were 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin, and 17-year-old Justin Shilling.

The shooter’s parents may also face charges

Deputies rushed to the school around lunchtime Tuesday and captured Crumbley within minutes of the shooting. Keast said Crumbley’s father purchased the firearm last week.

McDonald said they’re considering bringing charges against Crumbley’s parents.

“Owning a gun means securing it properly and locking it and keeping the ammunition separate,” she said.

The shooting should be a wake-up call for new gun laws in a country that has become “desensitized to school shootings,” McDonald told reporters.

“We have to do better,” McDonald said. “How many times does this have to happen? How many times?”

She also said the terrorism charge is warranted.

“What about all the children who ran, screaming, hiding under desks? … Those are victims, too, and so are their families and so is the community,” McDonald said.

Ample warning signs

Authorities later learned of social media posts about threats of a shooting at Oxford. The sheriff stressed how crucial it is for such tips to be sent to authorities.

Lt. Tim Willis told a judge that Crumbley recorded a video the night before the shootings in which he discussed killing students.

A concerned parent, Robin Redding, said her son, 12th-grader Treshan Bryant, stayed home Tuesday after hearing threats of a possible shooting.

“This couldn’t be just random,” she said.

Sheriff Mike Bouchard told reporters that Crumbley’s parents were called to the school Tuesday “for behavior in the classroom that was concerning.” The teen remained in school, and the shooting occurred a few hours later.

Bouchard didn’t disclose what had worried school officials. He said investigators believe the gun was already in school.

“There is nothing that he could have faced that would warrant senseless, absolutely brutal violence on other kids,” Bouchard said.

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Michigan teen charged in Oxford High School shooting

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