Arrest of School Shooter’s Parents Should Be a “Wake Up Call,” Experts Say

The mother and father of a gunman who killed four students at his Michigan high school last week have been arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter. The rare prosecution should be a “wake up call” for parents everywhere, says law enforcement consultant Dr. Roy Taylor. 

Prosecutors say James and Jennifer Crumbley ignored warning signs that their 15-year-old son Ethan was mentally unstable. Instead of getting him help, they bought him a gun which he used to kill his classmates.

Authorities say Ethan’s mother took him to a shooting range the weekend before the massacre. After he was caught searching for ammunition online at school, his mother texted him: “LOL I'm not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”

The school brought the parents in for a meeting about their son’s disturbed behavior the day of the shooting, but the parents refused to take him out of school. The mother later sent a text to the son stating, “Ethan, don’t do it,” indicating she knew what was about to take place.

Under Michigan law, parents can be held criminally liable if their minor child violates firearm laws on school property. Other states are now considering similar laws to hold negligent parents accoutable. 

The Crumbleys have both pleaded not guilty to the charges. Their son is also in jail facing charges for murder, assault, and terrorism.