Oxford Strong: One Year In

Stories by Brenda Ortega, MEA Voice Editor

In the months after a troubled student opened fire with a semiautomatic weapon in the hallways of Oxford High School one year ago, destroying lives and devastating the community, the long process of grieving and healing began. It will continue over many years ahead.

Read the stories below of educators and students attempting to find their way along that path – a journey that looks different for everyone. Ongoing trauma therapy and counseling. Ups and downs. Political activism. Energy and exhaustion. Community service. Sadness and hope.

Killed in the shooting were Hana St. Juliana, 14, Tate Myre, 15, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17. Seven other students were injured, along with MEA member Molly Darnell, an English Language Arts teacher who is sharing her story publicly for the first time.


Jim Gibbons: ‘It’s harder this year than last year’

Jim Gibbons could talk for hours about all of the good things happening at Oxford High School, but one year after a horrific school shooting killed four students and injured eight other people, the local union president admits nothing has gotten easier. Read more.

Molly Darnell: Teacher injured in Oxford school shooting shares her story of trauma, change

Last year I woke up on the morning of Nov. 30 as a wife, mother, educator, friend and colleague. By the time I would come home, three unrecognizable labels had been given to me: victim, wounded, and survivor. It would take me almost a full year to accept them as part of my life story, and in doing so the past roles I was proud to wear reshaped themselves. Read more.

Megan Pavlock: ‘It helps to direct our energy towards good’

Back in May, when 19 fourth graders and two teachers were murdered by an 18-year-old gunman at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, Oxford High School junior Megan Pavlock felt “overwhelming sadness” that gun violence somehow keeps happening in schools and no one stops it. Read more.

Lauren Jasinski: ‘It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done’

A public policy nerd since college, Lauren Jasinski always expected to expand her career beyond a high school classroom. But the devastating shooting at Oxford High School sped up her departure from teaching civics, world history, and AP Comparative Government. Read more.

Audrey Wright: ‘We don’t have to live like this’

At Thanksgiving dinner one year ago, MEA member Audrey Wright sat with a family member who witnessed the school shooting in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Little did Wright know, within a few days her own daughter would become a survivor, too. Read more.

Dylan Morris: ‘We’re making connections and meeting with people’

One of the first people to call Dylan Morris for a check-in after he’d fled Oxford High School following a deadly shooting last year was U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin. Then a junior, Morris knew the congresswoman from his work as chairman of the Michigan High School Democrats. Read more.

Zoe Touray: ‘They don’t have to go through it alone’

Zoe Touray’s first solo trip away from home after she graduated from Oxford High School last spring took her to Washington, D.C. in June to speak at a Moms Demand Action rally before hundreds of people on a stage next to U.S. senators and congresspeople. Read more.

 

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