In the wake of the recent Oxford High School shootings, many families are asking: “How can we do better AFTER an event like this?” Tragically, four (4) lives were lost last November and multiple students were shot. What the Oxford community has been dealing with since this event is large numbers of teenage children with mental health and emotional issues. These are children whose personalities and brains are still developing, yet, sadly some of these kids have inadequate or insufficient access to the level and frequency of mental health care, counseling and other accommodations they need.
Oxford parents are reporting children with a range of issues from nightmares and anxiety to crying spells, phobias and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some children haven’t seen a counselor due to gaps in insurance coverage. Access to quality mental health care will not only benefit the individual children, but their families and ultimately the Oxford community in the years to come.
The families at Oxford are also wondering “Why” – if it is ultimately proven that some of the school employees were negligent in failing to recognize a serious problem, or to even check the shooters school bag that day, that the OHS insurance coverage may still be difficult to obtain. The answer may be that a legislative fix is necessary, schools are currently immune from negligence suits and individuals who work for schools have qualified immunity. Proving both gross negligence and that the actions of a government employee were “the” proximate cause of an incident make recovery for injured children an uphill battle – even when clearly substandard conduct exists.
Some of the OHS families have already banded together to tackle these necessary reforms legislatively. If you would like further information regarding Michigan law or the rights of your child and what is being attempted in the way of common sense reform, we invite you to contact Grewal Law, PLLC. Our attorneys provide passionate advocacy aimed not only toward assisting individuals, but in making positive long-term changes for Michigan families, communities and students in the years to come.
A Michigan native who graduated from both Michigan State University and Cooley Law School, Mr. Weidenfeller has limited his practice of law to representing individuals who have been permanently injured and families who have lost a loved one as the result of medical errors for more than 20 years. In that time, he has been featured on the cover of Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly and has spoken to many and varied professional groups about trial practice and effective communication.