DThe mother of a teenager who shot four students at a school in the US state of Michigan in 2021 was convicted of negligent homicide. According to media reports, this is the first time in the United States that a parent of a shooter has been convicted of personal responsibility for such a crime. The woman was found guilty Tuesday of four counts of involuntary manslaughter, CNN and the New York Times reported from a courtroom in Pontiac. The parents gave the murder weapon to their then 15-year-old son. Now the mother faces up to 15 years in prison – the sentence will be announced in April.
The teenager's parents faced serious charges after the crime for purchasing the murder weapon and giving their minor son access to it. They also allegedly ignored warnings from the boy's school environment. The 45-year-old mother pleaded not guilty at trial. Her husband is scheduled to appear in court in March. The son had pleaded guilty to all 24 charges. Last year, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He did not testify at his mother's trial.
The case has once again brought into focus the issue of parents' responsibility for their children's actions. It is rare for parents to be charged and convicted of such acts of violence against minors at school. While parents have sometimes been held responsible for negligent behavior in the past, this case appears to be the first time a parent of a minor shooter has been found guilty of negligent homicide. The 12-member jury reportedly spent more than ten hours deliberating on their decision.
Deadly shootings at schools and universities continue to occur in the United States. Gun laws in the United States vary from state to state, but firearms such as pistols and assault weapons are usually relatively easy to obtain. Stricter gun laws usually fail because of Republicans in Congress and the powerful gun lobby. US President Joe Biden has promised action to curb gun violence, but so far without concrete results.