Attorney Geoffrey Fieger was the first to file two $100 million lawsuits Thursday on behalf of one Oxford High School shooting survivor and her family -- but some educational leaders are taking issue with the litigation.
K-12 Alliance of Michigan, one of the largest educational organizations in the state, believes that Fieger’s lawsuit is a money grab and not a long-term solution to address school shootings.
Fieger on Thursday filed two federal civil lawsuits against the Oxford Community Schools district and several administrators and staff over their alleged role in the Nov. 30 shooting that left four students dead and injured seven other people. The lawsuits, filed on behalf of two students who were present for and injured in the shooting, claim that school staff and administrators failed to take action that could have prevented the mass shooting.
During an impassioned speech Thursday, Fieger argued that he had not taken legal action to capitalize on the tragedy, but rather hoped to effect societal change by hurting the pocket books of those involved. In response, Robert McCain, executive director of the K-12 Alliance, said that lawsuits like those headed by Fieger do “more hurt than change.”
“As countless students, teachers, and staff have been through an unimaginable and traumatizing situation, it is wildly inappropriate to see Geoffrey Fieger seek to capitalize on that by suing the very community who was impacted most,” McCann said in a statement.
Fieger responded to the K-12 Alliance director virtually, saying, “their statement that somehow myself or my clients sued the community is nonsense. We sued individuals who, as a result of their actions and inactions, allowed a mass murder to take place.”
The back-and-forth continued between the attorney and McCann.
“A community is grieving, and schools across the state are struggling to answer the concerns of students and families,” McCann said in response to Fieger. “What we need are real, long-term solutions to address the ongoing societal issues that have led to attacks on school campuses. (The lawsuits’) announcement will only serve as a distraction from the real conversations we need to be having on these issues.”
But Fieger said Thursday that all officials and communities have been doing is talking about the issues, but nothing has really been done to address them.
“We’ve been talking since Columbine for 20 years now,” Fieger said in response to McCann on Friday. “They suggest we should go examine the long-term solutions? Well, how much longer do we have to wait?”
The attorney believes that by hurting the pockets of the leaders he says played a role in the fatal shooting, he hopes that changes will be made in all school districts, not just in the Michigan community of Oxford.