Ex-Oxford school board members: threat assessment policy wasn't implemented before shooting

Posted at 2:33 PM, Nov 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-29 06:12:57-05

(WXYZ) — Two former Oxford school board members held a press conference Monday alleging the district had a threat assessment policy in place that was not implemented ahead of the deadly November 30, 2021, shooting at the high school that left four students dead and seven others, including a teacher, injured.

2 former Oxford school board members allege threat assessment policy not implemented

Tom Donnelly, the former Oxford school board president, and Korey Bailey, the board's former treasurer, say Policy 8400 had been in the district’s system for years. It reportedly outlines how to train teams to look for early warning signs, like expressions of violence in writings and drawings, threats of violence, testing poorly on an emotional assessment and more, creating a marker system for students who are most at risk.

Donnelly says the suspected shooter should have taken an emotional assessment in 2020 and 2021 called SAEBRS.

“Did we look at them? Did we add the students with concerning scores in a marker system? Is there a marker system that the counselor could see?” said Donnelly.

“The district certainly didn’t use it as designed in the months leading up to the shooting,” he said. “There’s no evidence that we’ve ever used it.”

Donnelly and Bailey are speaking out now, hoping that other districts can learn a lesson from what happened at Oxford and commit to training on how to prevent targeted school violence the same way they train for fire drills.

“Since the early days after the shooting, this board had been told over and over that the school had all the policies in place and that our team did everything right but a bad thing still happened; if that were true, how could the shooting have happened,” said Bailey.

Bailey said they learned that those responsible for safety had raised concerns over the lack of training for some time, but that they were ignored.

Bailey also explained how models and policies are handed up to the superintendent’s team, which is then responsible for implementation.

Donnelly said he and Bailey will likely be deposed in the coming days and more details will be shared.

The two former members said they resigned months ago because they felt silenced and misled while on the board. They also allege that “non-district voices” kept information from the board.

The press conference just comes a few days before the one-year anniversary of the Oxford tragedy.

7 Action News has reached out to Oxford Community Schools for comment.