Oxford High School shooting 1 year later: How to talk to children about school violence

Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 6:55 PM EST
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OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) - Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of the Oxford High School shooting that killed four students and injured seven other people. It’s known to the Oxford community as Wildcat Remembrance Day.

Related: Experts talk school safety measures in the wake of Oxford shooting

Community members and school leaders used the day to focus on improving school safety and mental health.

“I had family members in school that day,” recalled Sen. Rosemary K. Bayer. “It’s hard to even think about hard to talk about it still a year later.”

Students Against Destructive Decisions president Rick Birt said it’s important for parents to talk to their children about uncertainty and anxiety.

“We don’t know, quite frankly, if we’re going to be safe,” Birt said. “That’s OK to be unsettled, it’s OK to be anxious but there are ways to handle that anxiety and ways to process those emotions that are healthy that are appropriate and will hopefully lead to better outcomes.”

Addressing these emotions together can help parents and students cope.

“It’s all about having your ear to the ground, knowing what students are saying and also having a plan with students and parents if things do go awry,” Birt said.

Having a plan can often make people feel safer.

“We want to get to where we aren’t afraid to send our kids and our spouses into schools and be afraid that we won’t see them again,” Bayer said.

SADD also said it’s important to be as honest as possible during these conversations. The conversations should be age-appropriate, but parents shouldn’t sugar-coat things.

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