By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
The spontaneous memorial that popped up around the Oxford High School sign on Oxford Road following the Nov. 30 shooting was taken down before students returned to the school on Monday. There are plans to make a permanent memorial to the lives that were lost: Hana St. Juliana, Justin Shilling, Madisyn Baldwin and Tate Myre.
In the days following the shooting, mourners covered the OHS sign and surrounding grass with flowers, prayer candles, crosses, balloons and Oxford spirit items. Community members pitched a canopy tent over the shrine to protect the items from the elements and a posterboard wall was set behind the memorial for community members to write messages of love and hope.
The temporary memorial “played a beautiful role in honoring and remembering our lost Wildcats,” Superintendent Tim Throne said, “and provided a place for our community to grieve.”
Mental health experts advised the school to remove the memorial before students returned to campus in order to further the healing process, according to Throne. The district had the memorial professionally 3-D scanned.
The victims’ families were given an opportunity to choose items they wish to take home before the memorial was removed. All other items were saved and will be stored until long-term memorial plans are made.
“This will be a long and well thought out process,” Throne wrote in a district email describing the timeline. “It will first begin with consulting the families of the victims and discussing their wishes. Then, a committee of students, staff, and parents will be created to begin this planning.”
By James Hanlon