OXFORD, Mich. (FOX 2) - The Oxford School Board made their first public statement since the independent report on the Oxford High School shooting concluded that the tragedy could have been prevented by the district.
On Oct. 30, Guidepost Solutions LLC released a 572-page review of the Nov. 30, 2021 shooting that left four students dead and injured seven other victims, including a teacher.
According to the report, poor threat assessment was conducted, and the threats that were identified were not reported to the principal. On the day of the shooting, no one monitored the whereabouts and surroundings of the shooter. Blame was placed on everyone from the top down.
The school board apologized to all Oxford students, the victims, families, and staff in a meeting on Tuesday.
"We can and must learn from this tragedy while helping every Oxford student continue to pursue their passion and dreams for their futures," said Heather Shafer, the school board president.
However, numerous parents expressed that an apology alone is insufficient; they are calling for the removal of board members.
"We're taking action at every level to remove you if you won’t do it yourself, so the choice is yours if you want to make this a whole public process," a parent told the board on Tuesday. "But what you're doing is inappropriate, and we’re done."
As the board discussed the process of finding a new superintendent to lead the district, parents and students strongly criticized officials for the report's findings – including the significant number of staff members who were not interviewed for the investigation, as employee participation was not mandatory.
Buck Myre, who lost his son Tate in the school shooting, expressed his concerns during the meeting.
"Threat assessment is in place now and that’s awesome for our students, but the fact of the matter is 65% of the people didn’t speak up, so we don’t know everything about November 30th – and we know zero about the response after the shooting," Myre said.
Many also want to know why school staffers did not check the shooter’s backpack for a firearm the day of the shooting – as the dean of students spoke with the shooter before his rampage, according to the report. There was enough evidence for the search to take place.
"I was stuck in that building for 20 minutes until I was walked outside by gunpoint," an Oxford High School student told the board. "For some, they were stuck in there far longer. For some, they were told whatever you do, don’t look down because you're walking over a crime scene."
With the second anniversary of the shooting approaching, many in the community are still experiencing profound pain, and they expressed their dissatisfaction with the slow progress made towards implementing reforms and preventing future tragedies.
"I know that some of you joined, or were handpicked to be on the board after the shooting and not before, but it’s been 714 days and the report is riddled with all of your failures," another attendee said.