Nearby Oxford shooting impacts students, staff


Utica Community Schools

UCS bought a banner and placed it along Oxford’s fence line to show their support.

Abby Williams, Managing Editor

On Nov. 30, a school shooting took place at Oxford High School, killing four people and injuring another seven. Students at Utica became aware of the shooting once they returned home from school and were disturbed by the incident, especially due to how close the shooting was to Utica.

“I found out about the events at Oxford through a friend,” junior Sophia LaBrecque said. “I was in pure shock, especially since it happened t o close to home.”

After the events at Oxford, reports of copycat threats started to come in that targeted schools across multiple districts. Due to this, many students stayed home from school.

“I didn’t end up going to school the next day because I was so terrified,” LaBrecque said. “I was fearing for my safety at Utica, since something could happen and you’d never really know, no matter how many safety procedures were put in place.”

The rest of the week was difficult for students, and the mood at school felt bleak and emotional.

“It was very nerve-wracking and tense,” LaBrecque said. “People were leaving school early left and right, and people were crying all around me. Everyone was on edge.”

When students returned to school following the event, principal Tom Lietz’s morning announcements opened with a discussion and his words of encouragement.

During the rest of the week, teachers addressed the recent events with their students.

“A few teachers discussed it,” LaBrecque said. “They expressed their sympathy and some spoke about what to do if a situation like that were to occur.”

Despite some teachers talking about it, students still wished more was done.

“I thought it was kind of negligent that some teachers didn’t discuss it,” LaBrecque said, “since I think this is an important thing to discuss.”

One way students want to take action is by pushing for more safety measures.

“I would’ve appreciated more security and police presence,” LaBrecque said, “and I’d like more escape plans for upstairs classrooms. Hypothetically, if we were able to implement metal detectors, I think that’d be a good idea.”

“If I could change anything, I probably would focus more on security,” junior Zoey Lawrence said. “My main thought is that you can’t really prevent them unless you listen to the students.”

Students feel that these events are just going to repeat themselves if nothing is done beforehand to help prevent them.

“What happened was terrible,” Lawrence said. “I really wish people in America had a better solution than just dealing with it after it happens.”