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Father of a Michigan school shooting victim attended Crumbley's trial every day

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A jury says Jennifer Crumbley is guilty of a role in a mass shooting. She did not pull the trigger. Ethan Crumbley, her then-15-year-old son, killed four students at Michigan's Oxford High School in 2021. She was accused of involuntary manslaughter for her failure to heed the warning signs about her son. We have called Steve St. Juliana, who is the father of Hana St. Juliana, the youngest victim in the shooting. She was 14 at the time. Mr. Juliana (ph), welcome to the program. I'm sorry for your loss.

STEVE ST JULIANA: Thank you.

INSKEEP: What do you make of this verdict?

ST JULIANA: I think it's just the first piece of the puzzle in holding people accountable and that accountability leading to change.

INSKEEP: I guess we should remind people, if they need to be reminded, of some of the facts in this case. It was considered extraordinary, not only because there was this disturbed individual who opened fire, but because there had been warning signs. He had done violent drawings. He had written desperate messages. And the allegation was that his parents seemed not to act. Do you believe that his parents could have prevented this?

ST JULIANA: Oh, absolutely. There was numerous occasions and just small actions that could have avoided this, from both the parents and the school.

INSKEEP: The parents and the school - who else do you hold responsible for this?

ST JULIANA: Definitely the school. And it's not so much that myself and the families are looking for punishment as much as we're looking for them to acknowledge their mistakes so that they can be corrected, and we can be sure that they're never repeated again. And there were numerous mistakes.

INSKEEP: Let's talk about that. What message would you want other parents to receive from this verdict?

ST JULIANA: Well, this verdict - it should be a wake-up call to parents, to, you know, pay more attention, to take responsibility, you know, especially within your own family, because nobody else can. And it's - like I said, it's kind of hopefully the first step to making some change.

INSKEEP: I suppose we should just note, when someone is a minor, parents have enormous authority, and government officials have somewhat limited authority, in many cases, to act. It is up to the parents in this circumstance and to some extent up to the school as well, right?

ST JULIANA: Yeah. It's a combination of both. And depending on the situation - I mean, obviously, the parents have the greater piece of the responsibility there, obviously. But you know, while the child is in school, the schools have greater responsibilities but have become afraid of parents, to be quite blunt. I mean, you know, they tend to not discipline like they used to. But in this case, you had a parent that came in, just kind of ran over the school and refused to take the kid home, and the school just caved instead of doing what they should have.

INSKEEP: Mr. Juliana, if I'm not mistaken, you sat through this trial. You've relived these episodes more than once. How are you doing? And how's your family doing?

ST JULIANA: That's a tricky question. That's - it's just kind of - we just take it - continue to take it one day at a time. The trial - you know, there's nothing that's going to bring my daughter back. So it's really more about the future with the trials, etc., just trying to wake people up and secure some change that hopefully avoids this in the future.

INSKEEP: Is the process helping?

ST JULIANA: The - is the process helping? Could you explain that?

INSKEEP: I mean, do you feel that the time you've spent in court, the process going forward, re-examining this is, in fact, pushing toward change, leading to change?

ST JULIANA: I believe so. I think the verdict that came out today, like I said, is the first step, but it's going to be a very long haul, uphill.

INSKEEP: Yeah. Mr. Juliana, thanks so much.

ST JULIANA: Thank you.

INSKEEP: Steve St. Juliana is the father of Hana St. Juliana, killed at age 14. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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