Talks on reopening plan for Oxford High to continue during winter break

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Work will continue over the winter holiday break on Oxford High School to prepare it for a reopening, Oxford Superintendent Tim Throne said Friday in an email to families.

Throne said the district plans to reopen K-8 schools on Jan. 3 as scheduled and that an update about the reopening of the high school — the scene of the most deadly school shooting in the United States since 2018 — would be given over the scheduled two-week break.

"During the break, we will continue the daily work on our high school building," Throne wrote in a statement on the district's website. "We will continue gathering and taking into consideration the input from our staff, families, mental health professionals, and the contractors working on OHS on when and how we plan the safe return of our high school students and staff."

From left, Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne and school board President Thomas Donnelly Jr. at the Oxford School Board meeting at Oxford Middle School in Oxford on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Throne, in a letter to families on Friday, said the district plans to give an update over the two-week holiday break on a potential reopening plan for the high school, which has been closed since a Nov. 30 mass shooting.

The high school has been closed since the afternoon of Nov. 30 when a student gunman allegedly opened fire on classmates and school staff. Killed in the attack were Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; and Justin Shilling, 17.

Ethan Crumbley, 15, an Oxford High sophomore was charged as an adult with 24 counts including first-degree murder and terrorism in the attack. Crumbley's parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter. 

Throne told reporters on Tuesday the tentative Jan. 3 reopening for the high school is no longer realistic. No new date has been given by Oxford school officials who are faced with a $100 million lawsuit by two survivors of the shooting.

Elementary and middle schools reopened Dec. 10 and again earlier this week and then closed for the week after school threats were investigated.

"Sadly, this holiday break will be unlike any other our community has experienced," Throne wrote. "This will be a different and difficult holiday for many in our community. I hope you will have the opportunity to spend time with family and friends this holiday season, as we all need someone by our side right now. I also ask that you keep the families of the victims and those injured in your hearts and prayers."

Mental health resources will continue to be available during the school break, Throne said. Sessions will be held Monday through Thursday next week at the Legacy Center, 925 N. Lapeer Road. Support also can be accessed at two hotlines, 1-800-231-1127 or 1-844-446-4225.