Michigan school board president resigns months after school shooting

Students and families have filed several lawsuits against the district.

September 15, 2022, 8:10 PM

Oxford school board president Tom Donnelly, who has been heavily criticized, resigned from his position months after a Michigan school shooting left four students dead.

Seven people, including a teacher, were shot at Oxford High School in Oxford Township last November when a gunman allegedly opened fire. Ethan Crumbley, a then-15-year-old student, is charged with 24 counts after he allegedly shot and killed four of his classmates on Nov. 30. Crumbley's parents Jennifer and James Crumbley, are also charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter after allegedly failing to recognize warning signs about their son in the months before the shooting.

All three Crumbleys have pleaded not guilty to their charges.

In an announcement to students and parents on Wednesday, Superintendent Ken Weaver announced Donnelly's resignation effective immediately, thanking him for his "years of dedicated service."

The school board rejected repeated offers from the Michigan attorney general's office to launch an investigation into the shooting, sparking backlash from members of the community. At the time, the school board said it would launch its own third-party investigation into the shooting after civil cases brought against the district have been litigated.

PHOTO: In this Dec. 7, 2021, file photo, a exterior view of Oxford High School is shown in Oxford, Mich.
In this Dec. 7, 2021, file photo, a exterior view of Oxford High School is shown in Oxford, Mich.
Emily Elconin/Getty Images, FILE

Months after the shooting, several lawsuits against the school district, the alleged shooter and his parents are underway. In June, a circuit court judge issued a ruling requiring the Oakland County Sheriff's office, the county and the Oxford Community School District to release evidence, including video footage, related to the November school shooting.

A coalition of Oxford High School parents and students called #Change4Oxford applauded Donnelly's decision, critiquing his lack of transparency in the aftermath of the shooting. The group also thanked Donnelly for "recognizing his limits and stepping down," in a statement.

"The announcement of Tom Donnelly's resignation brings some relief to parents and students looking to improve communications, and secure policies that improve safety as well as accountability from our district. Mr. Donnelly has not been transparent with regards to the events of November 30, 2021," Andrea Jones, an Oxford parent said in a statement to ABC News.

"After 10 long months without answers, it is my hope that his replacement will take an active lead in beginning the healing process this community so desperately deserves," Jones added.

Lori Bourgeau, another Oxford parent with #Change4Oxford, said in a statement that the resignation came 10 months too late, listing many things Donnelly "could have" done. Some of those things included replacing the person in charge of school security with an expert to address security changes that needed, ensuring staff had proper training for handling traumatized students and teachers, directing additional funding directed to the district toward getting mental health professionals for staff and students and replaced the superintendent with someone from outside the district.

Donnelly did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.