Oxford schools superintendent delays retirement in wake of mass shooting

‘I remain solely focused on responding to this tragedy’

Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne (Oxford Community Schools)

OXFORD, Mich. – The superintendent of Oxford Community Schools is delaying his planned retirement now that the community faces the fallout from the mass shooting at Oxford High School.

In a letter to district community members this week, Superintendent Tim Throne wrote “now is simply not the right time for me to leave.” He was previously set to retire in January 2022.

Here is his letter sent Tuesday, Dec. 13:

Like many of our administrators, staff members, and families, I have been totally consumed by this tragedy. Additionally, many of our families and staff members have understandably asked me about the status of my retirement. Previously, my last scheduled day in the district was to be Friday, Jan. 21, 2022.

Trying to support our families, staff and community members as they grieve as well as supporting the safe and slow return to school has been my mission as your superintendent. I want to thank our community and staff for rallying together through this challenging ordeal. We have also appreciated the support, prayers and encouragement from people within Oxford, across our state, and around the world.

In recent days, I have been discussing my planned retirement with my family, my pastor, and my Board and have made the decision to hit pause on my planned retirement to avoid adding additional uncertainty or disruption to our school community, which has suffered so much.

I remain solely focused on responding to this tragedy, and I am committed to making sure our students, families, and staff are fully supported during this difficult time for our community. Now is simply not the right time for me to leave.

In the coming weeks, I will be working with district administration to help ensure a smooth transition and give our School Board some additional time to complete its superintendent search while we continue to heal as a community. I will keep all our students, families, and staff updated on this process.

Oxford StrOng,

Tim Throne, Superintendent

The Nov. 30 gunfire at Oxford High School killed students Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Tate Myre, 16, Hana St. Juliana, 14, and Justin Shilling, 17. Only one of the seven other people injured in the shooting remained in the hospital as of Dec. 9 -- a 17-year-old girl at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. Police said last week that the girl was removed from the intensive-care unit and into a standard room, where she will remain for 4-6 weeks for rehabilitation.

Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old sophomore student at Oxford High School, is facing 24 charges in connection with the mass shooting, from terrorism to first-degree murder. He appeared for a probable cause hearing on Monday, Dec. 13, and is scheduled to return to court in January.

‘No discipline was warranted’

Throne has addressed meetings that Ethan Crumbley had with school leaders before the shooting, one of which was the day of the murders.

“There’s been a lot of talk about the student that was apprehended -- that he was called up to the office and all that kind of stuff,” Throne said. “No discipline was warranted.”

Throne spoke for nearly 13 minutes in a video message, which he said was recorded at 4:35 p.m. Thursday, just two days after the mass shooting, from the high school’s performing arts center lobby. Most of his comments centered around the state of the high school, a mourning community and the next steps.

Four students were killed, six students and a teacher were injured during a shooting on Tuesday (Nov. 30).

But Throne did take a moment to address questions about whether or not the “concerning” behavior from earlier that week should have served as a warning sign.

“There are no discipline records at the high school,” Throne said. “Yes, this student did have contact with our front office, and yes, his parents were on campus Nov. 30. Again, I will take any and all questions at a later time, but that’s not now and this is as much information as we can give you today.”

Throne is among the defendants named in $100 million lawsuits filed on behalf of a student shooting victim and her sister, a witness to the shootings.

Full coverage: Oxford High School Shooting