School shooters have become commonplace around the United States. Already in 2024, there have been 16 school shootings. However, in most situations, when a school shooter is a minor, the parents of the shooter have never received any form of punishment despite having witnessed potential warning signs.


In a historic first, the parents of a school shooter have received a legal punishment of their own, despite not having been directly involved in the shooting itself.


Sentencing For Parents Of Oxford, Michigan School Shooter Ethan Crumbley
Getty Images


James and Jennifer Crumbley

James and Jennifer Crumbley are the parents of then-15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, who entered Oxford High School with a handgun in 2021 and killed four students, wounded six, and injured a teacher. He was sentenced to life in jail without parole, the first minor to receive that sentence.


Oxford High School Shooter Ethan Crumbley Attends Court Hearing
Ethan Crumbley / Getty Images


For another first time in US history, both his parents James and Jennifer have received 10-15 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter after they failed to address his routinely worrisome behavior, provided Ethan access to guns, and "glorified the use and possession of these weapons." Judge Cheryl Matthews claimed the ruling was not about bad parenting, but rather that if they had acted differently, more proactively, lives could have been saved that day:

"These convictions confirm repeated acts or lack of acts that could have halted an oncoming runaway train, about repeatedly ignoring things that make a reasonable person feel the hair on the back of their neck stand up."


READ MORE: Grand Rapids Truck Driver Arrested For Deaths of 3 Motorcycles 


The Impact Of This Ruling

The impact of this ruling could serve as a landmark case in the event another school shooting by a minor was to happen. Instead of just the school shooter themself being held accountable, the responsibility for one's actions can be carried by others. Going forward, this case can be used as a case of reference for future rulings against mass shooters.


It is sad that we have to assume there will be more mass shootings, but at the very least, a new precedent has been set.


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