Charges against parents of the children who commit school shootings are rare, but the Crumbleys aren’t the first to be held accountable by the law for children who commit such school violence.
Something similar happened in the Crumbley’s home state more than two decades ago, when Jamelle James was sentenced to two years in prison for involuntary manslaughter after a 6-year-old found his gun and used it to kill a classmate, according to the Detroit News.
In the case from 2000, the child staying with James found his gun in a shoebox at home and took it to his school near Flint, Michigan, ultimately killing Kayla Rolland, who was also just 6.
In nearby Indiana, the mom of a 14-year-old boy who fired shots in his school before killing himself in 2018 was sentenced to probation two years later, according to the Associated Press.
Mary Ann York pleaded guilty to four child neglect charges for keeping guns in her home after her kid made threats of shooting up his school and failing to take her troubled teen to counseling.
She got 2.5 years of probation and five dozen hours of community service.
In 2018, a Texas family who lost their child in the Santa Fe High School that killed eight students and two substitute teachers sued the killer’s parents, saying he didn’t properly lock up his weapons. Under Texas law, the parents could be charged with a misdemeanor, said the AP.
Jennifer and James Crumbley were handed the charges that could come with a decade of prison time due to negligence and a failure to respond to their son’s disturbing behavior.
The Crumbleys bought a gun for their 15-year-old son Ethan just days before the shooting and didn’t keep it locked up.
On the day of the shooting, the pair met with administrators at Oxford High School over Ethan’s disturbing drawings — which included killings and suicidal thoughts — and declined to bring him home. They also didn’t even bother to ask if he had taken the gun he bragged online about being his, the weapon he ultimately used to allegedly kill four people and injured seven more.
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said on Friday the chargers are “meant to hold the individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable and also send a message that gun owners have a responsibility.”
McDonald said she didn’t think the charges against the Michigan parents were “unique or unusual,” claiming the parents did not do enough to stop the tragedy from happening.