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Novi remembers, enhances safety features following Oxford tragedy

A+November+30+post+from+%40oxford_community_schools+Instagram+remembering+the+victims+of+the+shooting.
A November 30 post from @oxford_community_schools Instagram remembering the victims of the shooting.

On Nov. 30, 2021, in Oxford, Mich. four students were killed and six students along with one teacher were injured in the shooting. The shooting affected everyone in many different ways. With Oxford being only an hour away, Novi students and staff were deeply affected by the tragedy, which hurt everyone physically and mentally.

 

Denis Husiman, supervisor of safety and security, was a school resource officer at Port Huron High School at the time when the shooting happened. He had been an officer for 14 years. 

 

 “The two weeks after Oxford were the worst of my 14 years as a police officer.  I was mentally preparing for the worst, and I knew the students were scared, nervous, and may not feel safe.  I wanted to do everything I could to make the school safe and help everyone feel safe,” Huisman said. “What made those two weeks the worst was not being able to be present and free for my students. I was constantly busy running around tracking down each threat. I was being pulled away from my students to investigate threats. It was detrimental to me mentally when I found out that a threat I was working on was a student being funny.” 

 

Huisman also mentioned that he would work 12 hours a day even weekends to investigate every threat that was made. 

 

English teacher Chandler Brown wanted to be there for her students no matter how she was feeling. 

 

“It was awful. I almost took the next day off of work because I was so overwhelmed, but I didn’t want my students to have a sub in the room instead of me,” Brown said. 

 

Adding to the tragedy’s impact is that many know people working or attending school at Oxford High School. 

 

“My best friend’s best friend is a teacher at Oxford and was in the hallway when the shooting was happening. I had students who had friends at Oxford who weren’t able to reach them the day of and the following day, which was terrifying because we still didn’t have a definite number of casualties/injuries,” Brown said.

 

Principal Nicole Carter and her son both have connections to students who were at Oxford during the time.

 

“My son’s best friend’s family, the Fantichs, have two sons that attend Oxford HS. I immediately texted both parents to check in on them and offer any help. Their response to my text felt like it took an eternity as they were rushing to the school to seek out the well-being of their sons,” Carter said.  

 

After the shooting happened, most schools decided to take steps towards getting better and safer security plans placed in their schools. 

 

At Novi, we have added Securly Pass, a safer office, practicing drills (ALICE our drill that teaches us what to do in a dangreous situation), and much more to keep the students and staff safe.

 

“Our school district also ensures that our doors exceed what is determined as best practice nationwide,” Huisman said. “Our SROs also do an excellent job conducting training and drills for everyone. The school district’s goal is to promote a positive learning environment for everyone and for everyone to feel safe at the same time.  It is detrimental to the learning environment if students are stressed about safety or do not feel safe.”

 

There has been so much going on in our world in the last few years and its taken a toll on everyone. 

 

“With the multitude of shootings, the pandemic, the political climate, and literal genocides taking place around the world, try as we might, no one’s mental health is being supported in a way that makes everyone feel safe all of the time,” Brown said.

 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, ”in 2019, about 5% of students ages 12-18 reporeted that they had been afraid of attack or harm at school during the school year.”

 

“Oxford impacted everyone, and many knew someone who lived in the community or attended high school. Something that was in the back of everyone’s head got pushed to the front, and students are a little more on edge when they come to school, wondering if something like that could happen in their schools,” Husimsn said. “This mentality can be good and bad.  Knowing that a tragic event like Oxford could happen at their school makes students more vigilant and think twice about making unsafe decisions like propping doors or letting unknown people in the school. Students are also more apt to report concerning behavior to the administration.” 

 

The website OK2SAY is an anonymous site where students can report threats or things that they have seen to keep students and staff safe. 

 

“I encourage students in communications and during class meetings that if they see something, to say something,” Carter said.

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About the Contributor
Addison Darnell, Staff Writer
Addison Darnell is a Sophomore at Novi High School, and this is her first year in journalism. In her free time, she will be either playing soccer or running for the school's cross-country team. She loves to play sports, hang out with friends and family as well, and spend time with her animals. She is looking forward to joining the journalism team!  You can contact her at [email protected] with story ideas!  

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