Like everyone in our community, events of November 30, 2021, were crushing. Physically, mentally, and emotionally crushing. This is a community where the degree of separation is likely no more than one person, so unless you are new here, you were likely deeply affected.
I’ve read the report and the results are what I expected. However, the context in which it’s presented is disappointing. The information in the report, I have no doubt, is accurate. As I expected, this is a system problem. Sure, a person may be responsible for a certain aspect. But the fact is, there is nothing guiding educators on details required to deal with these situations.
If we truly want to improve safety, it’s time to focus on systems which failed and have some grace for those who were in a situation most people will be blessed enough to never experience.
On that awful day, Oxford Schools had 767 employees; 436 students have at least one parent employed by the district. That is 10% of our seated population; 174 of the 436 were most likely present at the high school; and 116 district employees are the parents of that 174. These employees and students are part of our community. We spend time together while our kids play sports. Nights, weekends, holidays. We are one. While these employees were locked down protecting your child, they had their own child in the building somewhere.
Several board members and administrators who’ve taken an intense amount of anger and even hatred had students in the building and were in the building themselves. Despite it all, these people put their own trauma aside to get back to “normal” for the rest of the community. I don’t know how they did it. And, any assertion that they didn’t care is wrong.
While people may not agree with decisions made at the time, while people express their ideas of could’ve, should’ve, would’ve, people can also admit these people deserve empathy and compassion as much as any of us. The only way this community can truly heal is if everyone in the community is given the opportunity to do so.
One last thing to note. I’m a believer in offering to help solve problems rather than simply demanding it from others. I’m willing to assist in creating better processes to improve these issues anytime. Mom to two Oxford graduates and two current students.
Kelly Bourn, BSN, RN, CPHQ.