Parents, take notice

February 6, 2024
Security Business Magazine

Types : In the News

Whether or not Jennifer Crumbley’s manslaughter convictions create a precedent, hopefully it will result in more vigilant mothers and fathers

On Tuesday, a Michigan jury found Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of convicted school shooter Ethan Crumbley, guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter. This is the first time a parent has been held criminally responsible for the actions of their child in connection with a mass school shooting.

Mrs. Crumbley’s husband, James, is scheduled to go on trial in March for the same four charges.

Will this set a legal precedent? Will parents automatically be held responsible for the violent actions of their minor children? We asked Security Business magazine’s legal expert, Timothy Pastore, to give us his view:

“This is a tragic case, but also a legally ground-breaking case – because it is the first time in American jurisprudence where a parent was held criminally culpable for a school mass shooting committed by their child,” Pastore says. “Jennifer Crumbley did not actually fire the weapon that killed four young people on the day of the shooting; nevertheless, a Michigan jury has determined that she committed involuntary manslaughter and bears responsibility for disregarding the risk her son posed to the public and the school.

“Here, the jury determined that, although Mrs. Crumbley did not intend to cause death, her gross negligence resulted in the death of the four victims,” Pastore continues. “While this case is a warning to all parents, it also was premised on a set of unusual facts that typically are not present.