Student shares what it’s like to return to Oxford High School: ‘Everyone’s just so supportive’

High school has been renovated after mass shooting

Monday was the first day back to a renovated Oxford High School building for many students.

OXFORD, Mich. – For many students, Monday was the first day back to school in the renovated Oxford High School building.

They have been out of the building since the Nov. 30 mass shooting that injured seven and killed four students. Many experienced mixed emotions when they returned to the building.

Read: ‘Everything about us is tough’: Oxford High School student remembers friend killed in shooting on first day back

Local 4′s Karen Drew spoke with 16-year-old Olivia Dare the day after the shootings and has been keeping in touch with her the past two months through phone calls and texts.

Dare said she wanted to talk on Monday because in a way, talking helps her heal. So, after class Monday afternoon, the two jumped on a Zoom call and talked about what it was like going back to Oxford High School.

“Very anxious. I was very eager to go back, but at the same time it was just very weird to me,” Dare said.

Read: Oxford High School interior renovated ahead of students’ return

While the upgrades and the new paint at Oxford High School helped a bit, Dare said there was one huge challenge.

“Walking the halls in general, walking alone in the halls, going to the bathroom -- things like that,” Dare said. “But there was one time I went to use the bathroom with a guy. And we both walked to a bathroom that does not exist anymore.”

How did the teachers handle the return?

“I think the teachers did amazing. They’re all so supportive and if you want to pet a dog, if you want a dog to come in the classroom -- they get the dog in there. They’ll let you go pet the dog. If you just need, like a break from the class, if you’re not doing OK in there -- they’ll let you. They’ll help you,” Dare said.

Dare said overall it was hard to concentrate, but said teachers didn’t have them do a lot of work on Monday. It was more about being together in the updated space.

“Almost everyone in the whole entire school is willing to talk when someone needs it. And I think that’s something that everyone can lean on, and everyone needs to be able to talk and let it out,” Dare said. “And everyone’s just so supportive. So, it’s amazing.”

It’s still so hard for the kids. She said so many were talking about the victims on Monday.

There was some talk about the accused gunman, Ethan Crumbley, mostly in classrooms where Ethan Crumbley previously had a seat. Teachers were moving chairs around so students could feel more comfortable. Everyone is trying to heal.

Read: Complete Oxford High School Shooting coverage


About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter and part of the Local 4 Defenders team.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.