This is Real.

Kayleigh Podolski

“As every day presses on it becomes more and more real that this is a growing danger. And you know there’s danger everywhere, but it shouldn’t happen in the halls of our school. A school should be a safe place, a learning place for kids to have a safe atmosphere,” said senior Dillan Hopps.

On Tuesday, 30 Nov. 2021, over one hundred 911 calls from Oxford High School students flooded operators. A fifteen-year-old sophomore, Ethan Crumbley rose hell, shooting eleven people total, killing four students in the process. This school shooting has shocked the state and left many in aching grief.

Only a little over an hour away from Oxford High School, Brighton High School is filled with many students shaken by the event and its proximity to home.

After just finding out about the shooting on Tuesday, junior Mikaela Robbins walked into her sixth hour class in disarray.

“A lot of people kind of just went into shock … we didn’t know how to process that,” said Robbins.  

Students are close enough to see the direct impacts of the school shooting. 

“I was about five minutes into my shift at work and my boss lives out in the Oxford area- her kids go to the elementary school next to Oxford high school- and it was weird to see her facial expression. You know, you see [school shootings] happen in any other state or any other country, and it is weird to have it in your own state, especially so close, so I was shocked. Honestly, in the twisted humor that me and my coworkers had, I thought she was kidding and it was weird because it was real,” said Hopps.

Alice Garvin, an English teacher here at Brighton, first learned about the students through texts from a fellow teacher friend working at Oxford High School. She was filled with disbelief and shock, immediately going into mama-bear-mode.

“I think it’s natural to think, What am I going to do? Where do I go? A lot of my students were asking, ‘Where do I go? What do I do to keep myself safe?’ As a teacher my first thought is, What do I do to keep my kids safe? Where do I go for the kids? Where do the kids go? So, my first thought isn’t about me, it is about them,” said Garvin.

Following the Oxford School Shooting, many students are on high alert as their anxieties run high. Of the sampling of 40 BHS students, 50% said that since the Oxford School Shooting, they worry about school shootings often.

 

Students’ comfort levels at school have also been negatively impacted. When asked how comfortable they are feeling at school following the Oxford School Shooting, 65% of students were not feeling great about being in school.

 

Social media added a whole new level to the fallout.

“It has impacted [the fallout] immensely. Social media the few days after was I think one of the most stressful parts of everything that happened because it was tweets or snaps or whatever- snaps of snaps of snaps of snaps. I saw a news article saying something along the lines of, ‘The following schools are closed tomorrow because that’s what they chose’. All of a sudden I saw a Snapchat of ‘These are all the schools on a hit list and these schools were all gonna be shot up,’ or I saw the same Instagram post twenty different ways … And I sigh, like, these were all schools that were closed. I feel like social media added a lot of fear and panic because people that didn’t have factual things took it and put it out there. And then everybody sent it to someone else and it just spread and it made it so much more chaotic than it needed to be,” said Brighton’s police liaison, Officer Bell.

Others see the positive impacts social media has had on top of the negative effects.

“There are probably some positives [to social media’s presence in the fallout]. All of these [recognition and tributes]: you see the University of Michigan football team wearing patches to honor the kids who died and people spreading the word about that stuff. That’s good. I have a couple of friends who go to Novi and I saw they were hosting a collection drive for coats and supplies for kids who had to leave their backpacks and other things behind. I think raising awareness is really important,” said Robbins.

The school shooting has led to much reflection, on student’s and teacher’s parts:

“When we think about this we tend to think that people who do this kind of thing aren’t people we would know and are psychopaths or adults coming out of jail. The reality sets in that you don’t necessarily know [who could do this] or what they would look like. There isn’t a definition or oh this is how they would act. It could be anyone and it kind of just goes to show you what can happen when things get in the wrong hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” said Robbins.

“It makes me more aware as a teacher that I need to make that connection with every kid … I feel like a lot of these problems where these students feel like they need to do this or want to do this, a lot of that stems from lack of contact. I’m not saying that their teachers are at fault for that whatsoever, because we do have large class sizes, larger than ever before so it is harder to make that connection with every kid and so that just makes me more aware that I need to make a connection with every single kid to hopefully hit these issues before it’s too late … It all just makes me more aware of myself personally in my classroom taking stuff more seriously, knowing that this is a real problem; this is a serious problem,” said Garvin.

The Oxford school shooting led to huge perspective shifts that will not be forgotten.

“Unfortunately, you hear a lot of similar events happening, and we’ve grown up with that happening, but if it’s in Texas it is easy to be like, Oh that couldn’t happen to me because that’s far away and on the other side of the country, and you sympathize with those people but you don’t really see it as a real possibility. But having it happen in the next county over to people our age who grew up in the same area as we did, makes the possibility more real and makes it seem like it can happen to you,” said Robbins.