Students and parents run to safety, following the deadly shooting at Oxford High School.

Nathan Green '22, Cub News Writer

Names have been modified for the sake of protecting the identity of those involved .

I remember sitting in my eighth grade English class, when my teacher, Mrs. Doe, suddenly gasped. Looking up from her phone, she informed the class that there had been a school shooting in Parkland Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 people. I remember sitting at home on the couch, watching the news, the crowds, the helicopters, the reporters, and fearful parents embracing their children. I then remember coming to school the next day to hear my English teacher explain the severity of school shootings in America, and how we must look out for one another. She expressed her concern for us and her own children. She couldn’t ever imagine something this horrible happening to any one of us or her children. 

Mrs. Doe’s daughter, Anna, would enroll in Oxford high school in September of 2020.

Following the recent events at Oxford high school, I could not help but think of Mrs. Doe and her family. I couldn’t imagine the trauma they were experiencing, and all at once, memories of my eighth grade English class came flooding back. I remembered how Mrs. Doe couldn’t imagine something this tragic happening at her daughter’s school – no one can. Until it does. 

On Tuesday, November 30th, 2021,  15-year-old sophomore Ethan Crumbley shot 7 people, and killed 4 students in the 29th school shooting of 2021, bringing a national issue much closer to home. Ethan Crumbley is being tried as an adult for 24 crimes, including 1st-degree murder, terrorism, and manslaughter, facing life in prison. He has been moved to Oakland county prison, where he is being held separately. His parents are also being charged with involuntary manslaughter for failing to secure the firearm used in the violent attack. They failed to appear in court and were then sought after by the US marshals, located and arrested in a warehouse in Detroit, MI. 

Oxford High School shooting criminal cases: Where things stand

If it wasn’t obvious before, it is clear more than ever that nothing has changed in the years since the Parkland shooting occurred, nor has any shift in policy following the Parkland tragedy. School shootings and school violence need to be addressed at several points. Aside from limiting access to guns, much can be done locally before drastic gun policy changes occur. According to the CATO Institute, data shows that students who attend private schools are disproportionately less likely to experience a school shooting. At first glance, one might expect this to be due to increased safety measures, including amped up security or access to on-staff guards; however, this is not the case. Generally speaking, private schools have less funding than public schools; however, there is one very significant difference. 

The student to teacher ratio at private schools is much lower than at public schools, meaning there are fewer students per one teacher. What this creates, is an environment where teachers are easily able to analyze their students, understand their behavior, and determine when something feels off. This is able to occur much earlier as well when there are fewer students in any given class. Early enough that matters can be resolved before anything tragic occurs. 

To fix this, the simplest way is to create more, smaller schools instead of massive community schools with 1,500+ kids. Oxford High School has a student body of 1,872 students and compounding this huge amount of people, the student-teacher ratio according to their districts website,  is 23 to 1. How can teachers, who are teaching several periods a day, be expected to notice subtle behavioral differences in 140+ different students?

Ultimately, there needs to be some major reform within the public school systems that create a better security net for their students, providing them with any emotional guidance they may need. It is the responsibility of the schools to protect their students, and promote a future generation of community members that will extend far and wide beyond the reaches of the school. How can students be expected to do this when they don’t feel safe? Safety needs to be the number one priority. 

Personally, this tragedy was very hard for me to wrap my head around. Every time I read the news, or watched a video, it resulted in tears and confusion. I found it difficult to believe that this had happened to my neighboring community, people that I could have known, could have bumped into. With the knowledge of my teacher and her presence in the Oxford community, it allowed me to realize how far reaching these deaths were. How many people were affected is something we will never truly know. This event has engrained itself into Michigan history, and the lives of those who witnessed it. For years to come, students will remember what they went through, the people who were lost, and they will feel the pain that Crumbley inflicted upon an entire generation of high school students.