FOX 2 - Crisis counselors and trauma therapists are being made available "for anyone in our community" Thursday morning, according to a message from the Oxford High School principal.
Oxford Virtual Academy will host the sessions from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. amid a flurry of scheduled mental help and support options being announced. The district has also released plans for students that left personal items behind during the evacuation of the building in which 4 students were killed, seven more wounded as well as a teacher, Nov. 30.
Pickup for items will be held Monday, Dec. 13 through Dec. 15 in the Oxford High School north parking lot main entrance area.
"For expediency, students and parents are asked to please stay in your vehicles, staff will be bringing items to you. We will also have police present, as well as professionally trained crisis response counselors and therapists. You will be receiving a follow-up communication later this week with details and additional information," wrote Principal Steve Wolf.
Wolf's email said that virtual counseling is available through EMPOWERU, a mental health online partner of the district, offering 20-minute virtual appointments available to staff and students in grades 6-12 this week. A 24/7 Resource and Crisis Helpline/Text/Chat is available with professionally trained Helpline volunteers from Common Ground at 1-800-231-1127.
Superintendent Tim Throne in an email to the district, addressed the limited public statements he has made since the tragedy, saying it is out of respect to the ongoing police investigation.
"We haven’t been able to say more because this is an on-going investigation," he wrote. "We do not have all the facts and cannot interfere with the prosecutorial investigation. We know this has caused frustration and anger but we are doing our best under difficult circumstances.
"After all the facts have been obtained and released through the course of the prosecution, my recommendation to our School Board will be that we initiate a review of our entire system as other communities have done when facing similar experiences."
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For the complete letter from Throne, see below.
"Dear Wildcat Nation, Since last Tuesday, everyone in our community has been sharing in the grieving process, including school administrators, school employees, school board members and myself.
"Since that terrible day, we have been primarily focused on helping our students, families, staff members, and community get resources to professionally trained crisis counselors and trauma therapists.
"At the same time, we have been and will continue to be fully cooperative with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office with their investigation. We haven’t been able to say more because this is an on-going investigation. We do not have all the facts and cannot interfere with the prosecutorial investigation. We know this has caused frustration and anger but we are doing our best under difficult circumstances.
"After all the facts have been obtained and released through the course of the prosecution, my recommendation to our School Board will be that we initiate a review of our entire system as other communities have done when facing similar experiences.
"Our goal with all of this is to bring together all of the facts of what happened before, during and after this horrific incident. We are committed to doing this in a way that allows our community to move forward and does not re-traumatize our community members, who are reeling and suffering from this horrible event.
"We want you to know we will keep our community updated as this process unfolds so we can begin the healing process for our entire Wildcat Nation and move forward.