EDITORIAL | Who's to Blame? Should parents face charges over a child's violent crime?

(Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

On Nov. 30, 2021, a 15-year-old named Ethan Crumbley took a handgun to Oxford High School, near Detroit, and opened fire, killing four students and wounding another seven at the school, including a teacher.

He pleaded guilty to 24 charges in 2023 and got life plus 24 years.

But that wasn't the end of the case.

Both his parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in the school shooting. Prosecutors say they did not secure the handgun their son used in the slayings and failed to get their son the mental health treatment he needed, despite what the state says were clear warning signs of trouble ahead.

James Crumbley is awaiting trial. But last week his wife and Ethan's mother, Jennifer, was found guilty on all four counts.It was the first time a parent had been convicted of a crime in a school shooting carried out by a child.

Prosecutors argued the Crumbley's inattention and disregard for the warning signs make this an especially egregious case.

But some observers worry about the precedent. Where, exactly, is the line parents must cross before they can be held responsible for a child's crimes? How can a parent reasonably be expected to know a child will commit a violent act? And what does this mean for teachers, school administrators and even family physicians? Can they be held criminally liable if they fail to act on what the state considers "clear" warning signs?

We want to know what you think. Are there cases where parents or other responsible adults should be held criminally responsible for a child's violent crimes? Or should only the child face criminal prosecution?

Send your response (50 words maximum) to [email protected] by Wednesday, February 15. You can also mail your response to the Texarkana Gazette Friday Poll, at P.O. Box 621, Texarkana, TX 75504 or drop it off at our office, 101 E. Broad St, Texarkana, Ark. Be sure to include your name, address and phone number. We will print as many responses as we can in next Friday's paper.

Last Week: Touchdown or Too Much?

Last week's question was about the controversy over Taylor Swift and media coverage of her romance with NFL star Travis Kelce. Are you bothered in any way by the media coverage of the Taylor Swift/Travis Kelce romance? Or are you fine with it?

Sports programs have always panned the crowds for celebrities. Right wing nuts believe in and are enraged by fantasies promoted by political pornographers, but care nothing about; reality, insurrection, treason, rape, racism, fascism, felonies, fraud, false electors, classified documents, pathological lying, incompetence, an immigration deal, losing by 7 million votes... -- J.W., Texarkana, Texas

The far right is always looking for something to be outraged about. If Taylor Swift was wearing a MAGA hat or a "Let's Go Brandon" cap, they would love her and the media coverage. Just another example of their hypocrisy. -- B.R., Ashdown, Arkansas

From facebook.com/texarkanagazette

- Why do people care? Cameras often show celebrities in a crowd at all sporting events. Silly to pick on TS

- In a 3 1/2 hour game she's shown maybe..... MAYBE 30 seconds. You need to calm down.

- I don't see anything wrong with it. Taylor is extremely popular - like her or not. I'd much rather see this than media attention on Harry & Meghan. JS

- It appears it matters to the media outlets since y'all keep bringing it up. Leave them alone. Surely you have more news worthy info to share.

- I don't care about seeing her everywhere.You tune in to watch a ballgame.I just don't care for her at all.

- I do love Taylor Swift so much  she support her boyfriend Travis at Super Bowl 58 for his team Kansas City Chiefs! Go Chiefs 

- I think we needed it. We are watching a fairy tale come to life.

- None of my business! Just let them be Happy !

- I do love both Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce 

- Who?

- Sick of these two

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