Oxford students set to return for new school year following last year's deadly shooting

Posted at 5:33 AM, Aug 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-25 17:21:05-04

(WXYZ) — Thursday marks the first day back at school for Oxford students, and it comes with a lot of added anxiety following last November's deadly shooting at Oxford High School.

Since the tragedy that killed four students, the district has implemented a series of new protocols, many specifically designed for safety.

Right away, students will notice new biometric scanners, located at three different entrances to the high school.

The district wants to ensure students walking into the building feel safe. But, hearts are still heavy, as the community is still grieving Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin and Justin Shilling.

"We have kept Hana, Tate, Madisyn and Justin in our thoughts and prayers as we developed these plans," Superintendent Ken Weaver said during a recent tele-town hall prepping for the new school year.

Oxford school board president: Community has every right to be upset after shooting

In addition to the biometric scanners, there are also now night-lock safety shades on classroom doors and windows, and the district has hired new private security, so there are armed personnel in each building.

It's all part of the district's three-year recovery plan after the deadly tragedy on Nov. 30. The plan focuses on academics, mental health support and security.

School safety for all Michigan districts was a focus during Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's visit to Novi High School on Wednesday.

Students line up outside of Oxford High School ahead of first day

"I was really grateful that so many people with different vantage points joined us today to talk about the mental health of our children, the needs of our educational workforce, public safety," Whitmer said.

On that last note, Oxford Community Schools is requiring students in grades six through 12 to carry clear backpacks. There's an added school resource officer at the middle school, and at the high school, weapons detection software is being installed on up to 100 cameras. The work is expected to be completed next month.

A weapons detecting dog is also set to be used starting next month at Oxford High School. There are also several building upgrades, like new signage and paintings.

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