In reversal, Oxford schools hire firm to investigate deadly mass shooting

District has declined state AG’s offer to investigate tragedy

The Oxford Community School Board reversed its course by launching an independent review into last November’s deadly shooting. The announcement comes after the board heard the community’s frustration over the district’s original decision to hold off on a review until all litigation was resolved.

OXFORD, Mich. – The Oxford Community School Board reversed its course by launching an independent review into last November’s deadly shooting at Oxford High School.

The announcement comes after the board heard the community’s frustration over the district’s original decision to hold off on a review until all litigation related to the shooting was resolved.

“We understand that waiting for the civil and criminal trials to end first does not serve the community well,” said a the school board member. “We can’t wait any longer to get an independent understanding of what happened that day.”

More: Oxford school board declines state attorney general’s second offer to investigate deadly high school shooting

The Oxford School Board on Tuesday, May 17, voted to hire an outside firm to dig deeper into the Nov. 30, 2021 shooting that left four students dead and seven others injured.

“Something went wrong,” said a father of one of the surviving victims. “People need to be held accountable.”

“You guys were notified by your staff, not once, not twice, but arguably three times. We don’t know because we don’t have that information,” the father said. “He was shot along with four other children that aren’t here and a lot of others who were injured and will wear scars for the rest of their life.”

The father, like so many others, including the students who lived and still relive that day, want answers.

Read: ‘My best friend deserves more’: Oxford students, parents, talk school safety

“You tell us to trust you, but the last time we blindly trusted you, four students were murdered,” said a female student.

Many asked aloud why the board would want to hire a firm to do what Attorney General Dana Nessel offered to do for free.

“You have a standing offer from the AG,” the father said. “You should recuse yourself. You have a standing offer from the AG. You want transparency, then be transparent. You instead want to hire an additional law firm?”

Some wondered if the results of a review, which the board initially planned to do after criminal and civil cases reached their conclusion, would make a difference at all.

“On Nov. 30, that 15-year-old boy became a murderer when he was handed a backpack containing a gun,” said a woman at the meeting. “We can hire all the experts and third party agencies and every agency available. We can spend all the money on all the resources because our kids are worth it, but if you want to talk about prevention, check the backpack every single time. We cannot have advanced conversations about prevention if there is no accountability.”

The board also voted to approve a permanent memorial for Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin and Justin Shilling, who were all killed in the mass shooting.


About the Authors:

Pamela Osborne is thrilled to be back home at the station she grew up watching! You can watch her on Local 4 News Sundays and weeknights. Pamela joined the WDIV News Team in February 2022, after working at stations in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.