‘Do I feel sorry for him? 100%. I do.’ - Mother of Oxford shooting victim sues officials, saying they could have avoided the tragedy
‘She was the happiest I’d ever seen her’
DETROIT, Mich. (WILX) - The family of Madisyn Baldwin, a teen who died in the mass shooting at Oxford High School last fall, has filed a lawsuit against staff and administrators, alleging they were negligent and could have averted the tragedy.
Nicole Beausoleil remembers her daughter, a member of the National Honor Society, as a gifted child who loved school. Madisyn was expected to graduate summa cum laude as a member of the Class of 2022 at the beginning of June. Her family said she had already been accepted into several colleges, some with a full scholarship.
Now her mother has to explain to Madisyn’s three younger siblings why they have to associate an urn with their sister, and why her sister lost her best friend.
“When I have to look at their faces every day and explain to them why her sister lost her best friend, why her other sister thinks she’s still sleeping, why her brother associates her with an urn in our living room, it’s not fair,” Beausoleil said. “She had so much going for her and it was taken away and what I received was a box of 12 years of her accomplishments. 12 years of waiting for her to walk across that stage. 12 years of wishing she would have all the opportunities she deserved. And they were ripped away from me - from the world - because she was going to do great things.”
Beausoleil noted that mental health cannot be ignored, regardless of a student’s grade point average, or academic and athletic accomplishments, saying someone is always struggling with something.
“Mental health isn’t invisible. It’s everywhere,” Beausoleil said. “I voice it to parents to talk to their children. Don’t set it aside like it’s not anything because your child is perfect. We all think our children are perfect - but are we? We are not perfect.”
She said communication from the district could have been better.
“For mental health, I would like there to be more communication in the schools,” Beausoleil said. “We don’t allow these kids back into school when you think that there’s a possibility they could harm themselves or harm others. And that’s exactly what happened that day, there were no repercussions. Unfortunately, my daughter and (three) other students and seven other people were hurt that day and we will never get them back.”
When asked about the climate after Uvalde, Beausoleil’s attorney, Steve Wolf, explained the difference between the shooting at Oxford High School and that at Robb Elementary School.
“The reason this case, this situation is not a referendum on gun reform is because we didn’t have an 18-year-old who bought his own gun and we didn’t have an AR-15. We had a handgun bought for the child by his parents. If you did a background check, as far as I can see, nothing would have come up. Those are the kind of things that make this situation distinct and even more so, that they had two days of sitting with the child and dealing with the child and his parents, make this so distinctive from the other situations we have. That’s why this case is not the case to talk about the broader issue of gun reform and what we should be doing about background checks or age limits or if people even need to carry around a semiautomatic rifle. That’s not this case.”
“This is about how do we turn something this tragic into something positive,” said Wolf.
Beausoleil said Madisyn was an artist but she was much more than that.
“She was the kindest soul I ever met. She was the puzzle piece to our family, the eldest with three siblings. She was loving, and her soul outshined everything. It’s hard for me to talk about mental health with her because she was a huge advocate to her special needs brother. She advocated for him for everything. She was her sister’s best friend.”
She said Madisyn had transferred to Oxford from Clarkston High School for her senior year.
“As a mom, I thought it was best to allow Madisyn to transfer to Oxford two weeks before her senior year. I wanted what was best for her and her happiness because I listened to her. I said ‘I’m not sure you should do this. I think it’s a bad idea. I think you should finish in Clarkston.’ But she said ‘Mom, I want this. I have family, friends, my boyfriend lives there. I want to change.’”
Now, Beausoleil blames herself.
“As a mom, you do what’s best for your children. That’s what I did. Now I sit back for the last six months with the ‘what ifs’ and did I make the best decision? As I deal with it and think about it, I don’t feel like it was the best decision for me but it was the best decision for her because she was the happiest I had ever seen her in the three months she was there. So it hurts to see that that was taken away from her and not blame myself for allowing her to go to a school I thought she was protected at.”
Beausoleil said that she feels sorry for the alleged shooter, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, as school staff members were aware of signs he needed help.
“I’ve said it from day one, that I will never forgive him for what he did and I won’t forget it. But do I feel sorry for him? 100%. I do. Because he cried for help,” Beausoleil said. “I genuinely feel in my heart that there’s a root cause to everything. And the root cause is mental health.”
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