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Parents Should be Held Responsible for the Actions of Their Children

Photo by Nellie Adamyan on Unsplash
The United States has left the power of gun control up to the states, so some states have stricter restrictions on guns than others.

Jennifer Crumbley, mother of Oxford shooter Ethan Crumbley, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on February 6th, 2024. In 2021, at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, 16 year old Ethan Crumbley opened fire on his high school killing four students and injuring seven others. 

According to CNN, “Prosecutors have accused her (Crumbley) of gross negligence for disregarding the risks when she and her husband bought their son a gun four days before the shooting, even though he was struggling with his mental health and experiencing hallucinations.”

Jennifer and James Crumbley failed to act on multiple occasions to limit Ethan’s access to guns, or get him the help he needed so he would not have the opportunity to cause the harm he did. Prior to the shooting Ethan demonstrated multiple signs that he could do something like this, but many concerning signs were, for the most part, ignored by his parents.

Jennifer Crumbley was charged on four counts of involuntary manslaughter; this is the first time parents of a school shooter have been charged to this extent. James Crumbley’s trial is set to begin in early March, and he is also being charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. 

This begs the question: should parents of a mass shooter be charged based on the actions of their child? 

Well, according to, “Courts have ruled that simply by failing to exercise reasonable supervision and control of one’s child, a parent is indirectly committing the crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and can be charged as a result.” 

When a kid makes a drastic choice that ends with people’s lives being ended or at risk, parental involvement should be investigated and parents should be charged accordingly. People younger than 18 have significantly less access to weapons, and in some cases kids who open fire on schools are getting these firearms from their parents.

According to The Washington Post, since 1999 there have been 394 school shootings. School shootings are a major issue in the United States, and many organizations have been trying to come up with solutions to this problem. The charging of Jennifer and James Crumbley is just the beginning of the steps America needs to take to prevent school shootings.

Four students were killed in the shooting at Oxford High School. ( )

“I think that the charging of parents for kids’ actions, when it comes to school shootings, can be an important factor in deterring more school shootings to happen,” senior Hannah Galbreath said. “This can be a very good step in starting to prevent school shootings, but I think there are a lot of steps we can still take.”

So what more can the government do to prevent school shootings?  There should have to be multiple tests people must complete before retaining a firearm, so the government can ensure that they have done extensive tests and research before giving people firearms. Also, the first time a student demonstrates risky behavior with weapons in a school setting, they should be placed on a strict plan to get them the mental help they need, and if that shows no sign of helping, they should be removed from traditional schools.  

It is imperative that the United States continue to hold people responsible if they were negligent in their actions, specifically those that lead to mass shootings. Being held accountable is one of the best deterrents for those who think opening fire on a school, or a public place in general, is a good idea. It will also make parents watch their children more closely if they know that their livelihood is at risk, as well, if their child takes people’s lives.

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About the Contributor
Payton Tanner
Payton Tanner, Editor-in-Chief
Payton is a senior and a third-year staff member with The Cord News. Outside of school she enjoys playing soccer and hanging out with friends. Payton loves journalism and getting to the bottom of a story. In the future, Payton hopes to play soccer in college and become a lawyer.

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