Detroit/ Politics & Govt
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Published on June 13, 2024
UPDATE: Michigan Board of Education Supports State Review of Oxford High School Shooting Amid Calls for Enhanced Safety MeasuresSource: Google Street View

The Michigan Board of Education has placed its weight behind the call for an independent state review of the Oxford High School shooting, which has seen a renewed push from bereaved families. Following a session with the families of the victims on May 21, the board is pressing for the necessary funding to support an exhaustive study of the events that took place before, during, and after the 2021 tragedy, CBS News Detroit reports.

As part of a wider plea for state legislators, the board is requesting ongoing support for children's mental health and school safety programs, including suicide and threat assessments within school emergency frameworks. This move is seen as critical, following the example of the 2023 mass shooting at Michigan State University, and the collective realization that, despite improvements in security and mental health provisions, much work remains to be done — as highlighted by State Superintendent Dr. Michael F. Rice, per Hoodline.

In tandem with this pursuit for answers and prevention, the Oxford Community Schools board has seen the resignation of its remaining two members tied to the 2021 campus shooting. Board President Erin Rei announced the departure of Treasurer Mary Hanser and Trustee Heather Shafer, with the Oakland Press noting the removal of their names from the district’s website mere hours after their resignation. The pair were met with vociferous demands for their resignation previously, in a board meeting where one parent, Kit Drabowski, accused them of having "blood on their hands," according to The Oakland Press.

The financial backing for these programs appears robust, with the state budget for the fiscal year 2024 earmarking $456 million for children's mental health and safety improvements, underpinning the hiring of additional school-based mental health professionals. These steps signify a focused investment in the well-being of Michigan's youngest citizens, in an acknowledgment that the circumstances that led to the Oxford High School shooting involve systemic complexities, not merely isolated lapses, according to Hoodline.

The board's resolution extends beyond Oxford High School, advocating for a thorough and funded scrutiny by state agencies in any circumstance where student lives are lost due to safety-related incidents. This proactive directive underscores a commitment to mitigating future tragedies, using the painful lessons of the past as both a memorial and a roadmap toward securing a safer future for students throughout Michigan, "in this for the long haul," as parent Renee Upham stated, as per CBS News Detroit.