May 10, Statement from the Board of Education

Dear Oxford School Community,


Our Oxford Schools community continues to heal after the tragic events of November 30, 2021. As your elected Board, we have been working diligently to support our staff, students and families to grieve, heal and move forward. We appreciate everyone who has helped us return safely to school. We also remain grateful for the continued outpouring of support from across our state and around the globe.

As we have begun work on the third-party review of the November tragedy, we want to define for our community the scope of work contained in the review. As the safety and recovery of our school district is our most important responsibility, we believe it is essential that the Board’s third-party review contain two key components:

  1. The three-year plan for recovery (currently under development by the Superintendent and district administration)
  2. The tragedy and associated events of November 2021

We thank the countless members of our community who have reached out, sent e-mails or made telephone calls, attended forums, Board meetings and town halls and filled out surveys as an initial step in the development of the three-year plan. As the Superintendent and district administration develop a three-year plan for our recovery, we are calling on our Superintendent to continue working with experts to develop the three-year plan in the following areas:

  • Safety and Security
  • Mental Health
  • Social Emotional Learning
  • Staff Wellness and Retention
  • Community and Government Outreach and Resources

Once the plan is completed this summer, we call on the Superintendent and district administration to have the three-year plan reviewed by a third-party such as the National Center for School Safety or others for comprehensiveness and effectiveness before the three-year plan is implemented at the start of our 2022-2023 school year. The third party will be reviewed and approved by the Board.

Since safely returning to education is our top priority, the board immediately began work examining the safety and security of our students and staff. As announced in our December 4 letter to our community, we engaged a third-party security consultant to review all district safety practices and procedures. That extensive safety and security evaluation of our entire district by Secure Education Consultants (SEC) is now completed. This SEC review is an important step in our continued efforts to provide a safe, secure learning environment for all students and staff.

As your Board, we encourage you to review SEC’s PowerPoint presentation and report, including key findings, recommendations, and actions the district has taken to enhance security and safety, which is posted on our website under the Safety and Security page. Our districtwide safety and security evaluation is part of our return to school plan to reclaim our school district. The safety and security evaluation of our entire district performed by SEC has made us stronger and safer.

We now want to turn our attention to the second component of the third-party review: the tragedy and associated events of November 2021. As you know, our district has been fully cooperating with the ongoing criminal investigation and will continue to do so until its completion and justice is served. The ongoing criminal cases have understandably delayed the release of information that could be essential to our extensive review. Oxford Community Schools is also responding to numerous lawsuits at the state and federal levels which will require attention and time from our legal team, our staff and the Board. Given the nature and breadth of the current criminal and civil proceedings, the review of the tragedy and associated events of November 2021 will not occur until the criminal and civil litigation is completed. Once the litigation process is completed and all information has risen to the surface, a team of experts will conduct a third-party review. Our subcommittee has begun the process of vetting potential third-party entities to complete this part of the review.

People inside and outside our community who have joined our call for transparency can be assured that all facts will come to light and no stone will remain unturned through the ongoing criminal investigation and pending civil litigation. We will be engaging highly qualified experts as part of the litigation process to thoroughly review the tragedy and the events leading up to it. Detailed, factual reports and analyses will be made public throughout the litigation process while public court proceedings will also provide transparency and a full accounting to the Oxford Schools community. We have fully cooperated with the Oakland County Prosecutor’s investigation from day one and will continue to do so. For these reasons, at this time we will be declining the Attorney General’s latest offer to conduct an additional review.

We would like to address the state Legislature’s role in school safety. We support the Michigan House of Representatives task force and its charge to improve school safety. The task force has assembled a team of varied expertise to review the current state of school safety and to make recommendations to the state Legislature. As part of this review, the House task force is proposing that the state conduct an independent, third-party safety assessment of all schools in Michigan. We have previously provided input to this task force and we welcome any opportunity to continue participating in this process.

As your Board, we will continue to make the safety and well-being of our students, staff and families our top priority in our continuing mission to educate all Wildcats. That means working together to support our amazing school community throughout the challenging days ahead. We remain committed to making regular updates to you, the community we serve, as developments happen and as we are able to share.

Together, we are #OxfordStrong.


-Oxford Community School Board