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Lessons Learned: Oxford High School Shooting

As we near the end of 2021, our nation once again had another tragic school shooting which occurred at the Oxford High School in Michigan. The shooting at Oxford High School was one of 222 school shootings in 2021, establishing an all-time yearly high.


That’s over 100 more school shootings in 2021 than in 2019 or 2018, respectively the second and third worst years on record.


We try to learn from each event to help keep ourselves and our students safe.


There were issues with missing warning signs from the Oxford student shooter which highlights the importance of ‘see something, say something’.


Communication also broke down between the parents, school and police assigned to the school which enabled the shooter to carry out the act with minimal monitoring of his activities.


While both of those issues are cause for concern, I would like to discuss is the reactions of students barricaded in a classroom when they heard a knock at the door from someone identifying themselves as the police. Some of you may have seen an Instagram video from inside the classroom which shows the reaction from the students when they heard the knock.

They immediately became skeptical and questioned the identity of the person in the hallway

The knocker used the phrase ‘Come to the door and look at my badge bro’. The use of the word ‘bro’ set off a ‘red flag’ warning to the students who didn’t believe the police would use such casual language. They refused to open the door and fled the classroom through a back window. (See video below)





After reviewing a tremendous amount of video footage, the Oakland County Sheriff determined the shooter never knocked on any doors and it was a plain clothes police detective at the door.


Regardless who was knocking, the students responded correctly by taking no chances and refusing to open the door. Shooters have used this tactic in the past to try and lure the occupants out of the secured classrooms.


The Institute for Childhood Preparedness has a course in Active Shooter Response

The course discusses the proper responses to a violent threat, and safety techniques are covered in detail. This classroom response to someone at the door is covered in our review of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.


We also routinely conduct site security and risk assessments. These customized assessments take place at your facility - where we conduct a comprehensive review of your procedures, systems and security. Conducted by experts, we provide you with detailed written reports - that provide actionable steps you can take to better protect your facility and the children that you serve!


Resolve to keep everyone safe in 2022!

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