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State Board of Education Responds to Parents by Calling for Review of Oxford School Shooting

Measure Also Advocates for Continued School Safety,
Mental Health Funding


LANSING, MI – The State Board of Education today voted to call upon the Michigan Legislature to require and fund a comprehensive independent review of the 2021 Oxford High School shooting in response to requests from parents of the four students who were killed.

Board members also voted to request that the legislature in the fiscal year 2025 state budget make previously approved funding for children’s mental health and school safety recurring. They voted to request that suicide and threat assessments be part of every school emergency operation plan and to make threat assessment training available in a train the trainer model for all school districts.

The vote comes after a May 21 board work session at which parents of the deceased students had a chance to share their thoughts and recommendations at the invitation of State Superintendent Dr. Michael F. Rice.

“Parents of Oxford students who died in this terrible tragedy have made it clear they want an independent state review of the shooting and events before and after,” said State Board of Education President Dr. Pamela Pugh. “I’m very grateful and thankful we were able to hear from the parents of the victims of Oxford. We owe it to the parents to do what we can to have the mass shooting thoroughly reviewed so that schools can learn from what happened and Oxford parents can get more answers.”

The resolution also addresses the 2023 mass shooting at Michigan State University.

“Much has been done in the last two and a half years to improve school safety and children’s mental health in the state,” Dr. Rice said. “More needs to be done. Large increases in funding for school safety and children’s mental health, more than 1,000 additional helping professionals in schools across the state, new gun safety laws, and increased attention to children’s mental health make for safer and healthier schools for students and staff. That said, more needs to be done, and the state board’s resolution is in the spirit of continuing to improve the safety and security of our schools.”

The fiscal year 2024 budget passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer with State Board of Education support provided $456 million for children’s mental health and school safety, which has allowed the Michigan Department of Education to work with local and intermediate school districts to pay for additional helping professionals—school social workers, guidance counselors, nurses, and psychologists—among other mental health supports.

The efforts support Goal 3 in Michigan’s Top 10 Strategic Education Plan, to improve the health, safety, and wellness of children.

The board resolution calls upon the legislature to mandate a review of the events before, during and after the Oxford shooting, within the school, district, community, and emergency response system. It notes that a new section of the state school aid act, Section 31aa, is funded at $328 million in this year’s budget but is nonrecurring without further legislative action. There is $113 million in Section 31n mental health funding that is currently recurring. The resolution calls for the threat assessment training to be available within two years of legislative passing and funding.

In addition to the Oxford recommendations, the board voted to urge the legislature to mandate a full and funded independent investigation by a team of state agencies whenever a student or students have died as a result of a safety-related event.

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