OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) – Oxford Community School officials are trying to turn the tide to regain trust.
School board president speaks exclusively to 7 Action News for the first time since shooting on November 30, 2021 killing four students and injuring seven others, including a teacher.
The district is also announcing several new safety measures for the start of the new school year this fall. That includes:
- New electronic monitoring of schools and students
- Armed security in all eight school buildings
- A dog sniffing guns in high school
- A third-party safety investigation is currently underway
It will be worth $9 million with state and federal money backing.
“I know you’re angry, I know you’re upset in some ways – in some ways, I think every right you need an answer to,” said Oxford Community School board chair Tom Donnelly.
The school board has been under enormous pressure to provide those answers. One of the most outspoken was Buck Myre, the father of Tate Myre, one of the students killed in the shooting.
“What good would it do the kids if the school stood up and took ownership for its part?” Bucket told 7 Action News in May.
The chairman of the board revealed that after the shooting, the board was shut down in a room of executives, lawyers and public relations advisers, while being too paralyzed to act. alone.
“From the very beginning, the voices in the room – and I wouldn’t say it was singular – (they) said we should avoid conversations about that day or anything around that day. because we shouldn’t be sad. Donnelly said.
The president of the Oxford School Board is speaking in public for the first time since the shooting
That’s when the alleged shooter and his parents showed up in court and headed to jury trials.
But this spring, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald made it clear that Oxford officials were free to act and even conduct an independent third-party investigation.
The chairman of the board said that they must not say it directly. In the end, those conversations took place.
Publicly, the board continued to stagnate. 7 Action News spoke to parents who are still skeptical today.
Donnelly confirmed that the board had an understanding of how events unfolded on the day of the shooting.
“Yes, we went through the building as a plank. We had discussions about the timeline,” he said.
Evidence in criminal cases includes that there were warning signs with Ethan Crumbley, the alleged shooter, before it happened.
On the day of the shooting, he was sent to the school counselor’s office and met with his parents, who refused to take him home. They said they were too busy to do that.
Ethan was returned to the classroom, and the shooting happened a few hours later.
The counselor testified in a criminal case where he alleges that Ethan committed suicide.
“Is this preventable in your mind?” 7 Action News reporter Jim Kiertzner asked.
“I cannot express my opinion because I speak as chairman of the board with other board members. And there are some things that I want to say, and I don’t know if I’ll get permission from the prosecutor,” Donnelly said.
“I can see after something is over. I can see what should be done, should be done, and should be done. At this point, we have to make those calls,” he continued. “(Day of) no sweat. He’s not doing anything the advisors are tracking. He didn’t stumble. He is not restless. He doesn’t want his backpack. “
There is a battle in court over the release of a school surveillance video that sources say shows everything in the shooting. And prosecutors don’t want to go out, even in civil cases.
Parents can come and see. Donnelly says he hasn’t seen the video yet.
“No I will not. I was told it was terrible. I’ve been through the walk with the officers and that’s for as long as I need,” he said.
The Uvalde, Texas school shooting happened last month and more information has been revealed about what happened inside that school than in Oxford in November.
Does that change now with this?
“Maybe I’ll be interested. I’d like to talk to the board members. I mean, one of the things in this particular interview is that I have to tell them I’m doing this without not being able to do this. get their permission and I don’t Donnelly say.
There is a lot of healing to come in this community as the third party investigation continues.