Oxford High School Students Return After Some Renovations Following Fatal Shooting

On Monday, students in Oxford, Michigan, returned to Oxford High School for the first time in nearly two months after a deadly shooting in November.

The high school has been closed since November 30, when student Ethan Crumbley, 15, allegedly shot and killed four students and injured seven others in a brutal attack. Crumbley has been charged with murder, and his parents also face charges in connection to the shooting, the Associated Press reported.

The school reopened Monday after parts of the building were renovated with new paint, wall graphics, ceiling tiles and carpets, WJBK-TV reported.

Students have been taking classes at Oxford Middle School since January 10 as a step to getting them back into the classroom. WJBK reported that the majority of students have not returned to the school since the shooting, but some students returned when sports practices began earlier this month.

Ahead of the students' return to the classroom, Principal Steve Wolf posted a video Sunday welcoming everyone back.

"We know it's going to be really difficult for our students and our staff to come back because we're still grieving," Wolf said in the video posted on YouTube. "Our thoughts and our prayers will continue to be with the victims of this senseless act and this tragedy and for those who continue to heal."

He added: "Yet we've been determined to carry on…and we are reclaiming our high school back."

The high school students can expect to be welcomed with words of encouragement after elementary and middle school students made snowflakes and hearts with uplifting notes for the school's lockers to help students get through this challenging time, WJBK reported.

Wolf said the school's top priority amid the students' return is their emotional and physical safety as they continue to heal. Additional resources are available for students to help make their transition back to school easier.

"Please know that when our students return to school, we will have numerous mental health resources available to them," he said in the video. "Being 'Oxford strong' means asking for help when you need it because we're all going to need some help getting through this," he later added.

The school removed a temporary memorial located outside before students returned Monday, but a permanent memorial is planned, the AP reported.

District Superintendent Tim Throne said removing the mural would help the students "further their healing process," according to the AP.

The district also implemented new safety protocols ahead of the school's reopening, including requiring students to use clear backpacks, having extra police presence on site and making crisis counseling available to all students, WXYZ-TV reported.

"We want them to see very clearly that we are there, we are available, and we are doing everything we can to make them not only feel that safety, but feel reassured we can get through this together," Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said, according to WXYZ.

The district has asked for the media to not be present on the school campus Monday as students return to class for the first time, the AP reported.

"The kids are just trying to heal," said Dani Stublensky, a spokesperson for Oxford Community Schools.

Oxford High School Reopen After Shooting
Oxford High School in Michigan reopened on Monday, January 24, after being closed for nearly two months following a school shooting on November 30, 2021, resulting in the deaths of four students and injuries to several others. Above, a memorial is seen outside the high school. Jeff Kowalsky/ AFP/Getty Images