Safety policies not implemented at Oxford schools before deadly shooting, former school board members say

Safety policies not implemented at Oxford schools before deadly shooting, former school board members say
Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 12:53 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 28, 2022 at 2:19 PM EST
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OXFORD, Mich. (WNEM) - Two former Oxford Community School board members, who resigned after they uncovered information following the deadly shooting last November, said threat assessment policies that were in place at the district were not followed leading up to the Nov. 30 shooting.

The two former school board members, Tom Donnelly and Korey Bailey, held a press conference on Monday to share the information they uncovered following the shooting at Oxford High School that killed four students and injured seven other people.

Donnelly said he learned about a document in August, nine months after the deadly shooting, that changed his perspective on the shooting. That document outlined the district’s policy on threat assessment and how to train to preemptively prevent an act of school violence.

“The district certainly didn’t use it as designed in the months leading up to the shooting,” Donnelly said. “There’s no evidence that we’ve ever used it as it’s designed.”

That policy has been in place at Oxford Community Schools since 2004 and had been updated just months before the shooting, Bailey said, adding the policy has been ignored for far too long.

During Monday’s press conference, Bailey mentioned fire preparedness and the steps schools are mandated to take by the state to prevent deaths in case of a fire. That training has been practiced and perfected, Bailey said, adding it is quite the contrast to the threat assessment playbook.

That playbook is an operational guide to prevent school violence and clearly defines the need for frequent training so the district is prepared for anything, Bailey said.

Donnelly and Bailey said the district did not put the playbook into practice at its buildings.

After learning about this, the two decided to resign from their positions on the school board.

“I couldn’t in good conscience stay on the board,” Donnelly said.

Bailey added it was a difficult decision for him to leave the board.

“I felt my role to serve with honor and integrity was gone. Remaining silent was not being honest or transparent,” Bailey said.

The two decided to speak out about what they learned in hopes of preventing another tragedy.

“Think of how many other students could be saved if other districts learn from our failures,” Bailey said. “Schools should train with as much passion as they do fire drills.”

Bailey went on to say the Oxford shooting never would have happened if the threat assessment playbook was implemented.

“Had those markers been in place, the outcome would have been completely different,” Bailey said.

Ethan Crumbley, the teen who admitted to carrying out the shooting, has pleaded guilty in the case. He is due back in court in February for a Miller hearing.

Ethan’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are also facing charges. Their trial is set to begin next year.