Local support for Oxford students and families
By Lisa Brody
In the aftermath of the mass school shooting event at Oxford High School on Tuesday, November 30, by a 15-year-old student, in which at least four students were killed and six other students and a teacher were injured, local school districts and businesses are offering sympathy and support to the students, staff and families in Oxford.
Dr. Embekka Roberson, Birmingham Schools Superintendent, and Lori Ajlouny, Birmingham Public Schools Board president, on behalf of the board of education and central leadership team, sent a letter to families to share their deep sympathy and support for the students, staff and families of Oxford Community Schools.
“It is unconscionable to imagine the pain occurring in Oxford following the active shooter situation reported earlier today at their high school, which caused at least three fatalities and additional injuries. Our hearts are heavy with the weight of losing lives, and our prayers are with the entire community,” they wrote. “While this situation is still under investigation, we want to share with families a reminder of how to seek help if you or your child are experiencing distress. Across our state, schools participate in the OK2Say program, which allows any person to report information 24 hours a day/seven days a week confidentially.”
In addition, Birmingham district staff have created a health and wellness website with links to mental health resources designed to support a variety of challenges experienced by people of all ages.
Bloomfield Hills Schools Superintendent Patrick Watson wrote to families expressing sympathy and support with the families in Oxford, and offering services to impacted students, staff and families in Bloomfield Hills.
“Our hearts are broken for the families, staff, and students who have experienced the trauma of an active shooter this afternoon at Oxford High School… With this tragedy happening so close to home, we understand that students, staff, and families within our Bloomfield Hills Schools community have been impacted. Counselors, social workers, and student supports will be available this week along with increased police presence at all of our schools. The safety and wellbeing of our school community is important to us and we will do everything in our control to maintain safety in our schools. Please reach out to your school administrators, counselors, or social workers if you feel your child may need additional support,” Watson wrote.
Both Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills districts utilize ALICE training protocols with local law enforcement, which was successfully implemented by staff and students in Oxford during the school shooting, and prepare for emergencies and regularly practice the safety procedures with students and staff through discussions and emergency exercises.
Similarly, a statement was sent from Oakland Schools, the intermediate district providing support for all school districts in Oakland County.
“Oakland Schools is deeply saddened by the shooting that occurred Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021 at Oxford High School. Our heart breaks for the students, teachers, staff, and families touched by this tragedy,” said Oakland Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Wanda Cook Robinson. “The safety and security of students and staff is the priority of Oakland Schools and the 28 member districts that we serve. Oakland Schools has been made aware of social media posts claiming a copycat shooting is planned for other schools. Please know that we are taking this matter seriously and we are working with local law enforcement. Oakland Schools has coordinated grief counseling support and mental health resources to help students, teachers, and staff maneuver the days ahead.”
Businesses in Birmingham will also join the community effort to express solidarity with the Oxford community by displaying on their building windows an Oxford support sticker that is being distributed by the Birmingham Business Shopping District (BSD) staff on Friday. The community support effort was announced at the monthly board meeting Thursday, December 2.