Parents of Oxford High School shooting survivor file lawsuit pushing for accountability, change

‘I remember putting my head on his chest and listening to his heartbeat’

OXFORD, Mich. – The parents of an Oxford High School shooting survivor have filed a lawsuit. They said they waited for the system to work, but it didn’t.

Aiden Watson was shot in the leg during the Nov. 30, 2021, mass shooting at Oxford High School that wounded seven people and killed four students. His parents, Linda and Jarrod Watson, said they’re frustrated with the school.

They waited, but were not happy with how Oxford High School reacted after the school shooting. So on Wednesday, the Watsons filed a lawsuit through their attorney Todd Flood.

Previous story: Family of Oxford High School shooting survivor describes what happened to him, his battle to recover

'He gets this look on his face like he was trying to kill me'

Aiden’s parents know they’re lucky. Their son came home alive from Oxford High School.

“I remember putting my head on his chest and listening to his heartbeat, and I was just so grateful he was OK,” Linda Watson said.

It’s been a rocky road to recovery as Aiden Watson heals from being shot in the leg. The physical and mental strain has been such a challenge.

“He doesn’t communicate the way he used to,” Jarrod Watson said.

Aiden’s father remembers watching the accused shooter’s arraignment in court.

“You never want to hear your kids say this, but, ‘attempted murder, Aiden Watson,’ and he, ‘he gets this look on his face like he was trying to kill me’ and, like, it was real for him in that moment,” Jarrod Watson said.

What’s also real for the family is the need for accountability at Oxford High School.

“All three employees that were directly involved in the things that went wrong on that Monday and Tuesday are still employed,” Jarrod Watson said.

And that is a driving factor as to why they are filing a lawsuit against the school.

“Your teachers on consecutive days alerted you to a behavior that was clearly showing someone was in crisis and your professionals failed to act,” Jarrod Watson said.

The Watsons know some families don’t agree with them as they file the lawsuit, and it’s a decision that has caused some division in their small town, but they said something more needs to be done.

“If your kid got shot at the school you’d have a whole different perspective. Trust me, and it’s not one you ever want to have,” Jarrod Watson said.

Oxford High School students are returning on Aug. 25. The Watsons said Aiden wants to return, but they are not sure if he can make full days mentally, as he still struggles in crowds and in that building. They do credit the school for accommodating children who continue to struggle.

Read: Complete coverage on the Oxford High School shooting

About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.