Law enforcement, school officials say Texas school shooting evokes Oxford memories

Even though the shooting in Uvalde, Texas is 1,500 miles away, news of the massacre that killed 19 children and one teacher brings back tragic memories in Metro Detroit. 

"When they walk into school tomorrow, this notion that school should be one of the happiest, safest places there is, is not," said Dr. RJ Webber.

Webber, the assistant superintendent for the Novi Community School District, is used to helping his district understand the ALICE Training that is supposed to help keep kids safe.

In the case of this latest shooting, these weren’t high school kids.  They were elementary school children.  Webber says it’s different. The adults run quarterback on the drills and the kids have to follow, with the goal of getting out alive.

"Young kids aren’t as mobile, depending on the age, so their ability to evade or exit a building, is just genuinely by nature, more difficult," Webber said. "But as far as the core tenants of the training, they still are there. How to evade, how to exit a building, if possible."

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard says we don’t have to be reminded of how close this story hits home. We all received weekly reminders as court proceedings take place following the Oxford High School shooting Nov. 30, that took the lives of four students.

"It's incredibly raw given our recent experience in this area so it brings back flashbacks for all the students, teachers, parents in the community at large right here, in Oakland County and specifically in Oxford and to our people, our men and women that are very much involved on that day and are still dealing like many people with the aftermath," Bouchard said.

Webber says one thing kids were likely trained to do when there’s an active shooter is run - following this rule.

"Something that’s really hard for me to say as a parent and an educator, is one of the things these teams are trained when they left the building, it’s to not run out in a straight line but to zigzag," he said. "And that is to unfortunately, avoid the active shooter."

Sheriff Bouchard says the responsibility to be vigilant is on all of us.  Were there signs the Texas shooter would strike? We will find out more as investigators dive into the case.  He says the bottom line -  is that people need to speak up.

"Because if you miss one thing, one time, it could be that time and it turns out to be a real deal," he said. "So as I say time and time again, we’d rather check out 100 nothings than miss one real deal."

An officer walks outside of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022. (ALLISON DINNER/AFP via Getty Images)