State school safety member says he would have handled teen shooting suspect the same way Oxford HS did

The shooting in Oxford created a shockwave felt in every classroom around the state.

For Birmingham teacher Rick Joseph, he has a close family friend with two kids at Oxford High School.

"I feel incredibly sad for those families," he said. "I cannot imagine as a dad of two sons, a husband, and as an educator."

"Knowing her as I do, and seeing just vicariously what she’s going through, has been horrible. It’s been gut-wrenching."

FOX 2 asked if Joseph saw missteps made by Oxford school officials in the days leading up to the shooting. Specifically, a counselor’s decision to allow alleged shooter 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley back to class, after two glaring red flags in his behavior.

"It’s obviously a regrettable situation now," he said. "But on Tuesday morning before 12:50 p.m. I would have done the same thing."

He emphasized that Crumbley had no prior behavioral issues at school.

Joseph is seeing this through many lenses, he’s a member of the state’s School Safety Commission, giving guidance on all things security.

"We have to be sort of be willing to listen, and listen without judgement," he said. "With the understanding that different people have different levels of sensitivity around their willingness to be in an environment which ought to be safe."

Oxford Community schools says it will be quite some time before the high school is ready for students and staff to return.

In the meantime, they are providing mental health services for both. Joseph said he applauds that decision.

"When a violent incident like this happens, it is a reminder of the need for us to be together in communities, in professional communities, to support each other emotionally, and be there for each other," he said.