How Are Michigan Educators Talking to Students About The Oxford Tragedy
It's been nearly three weeks since a teenage gunman opened fire inside Oxford High School, killing four students. In the days and weeks following the tragedy, educators have faced the challenge of talking to students as they try to make sense of what happened on November 30.
It may be the toughest topic any of them have had to cover.
Students Want to Talk About the Tragedy at Oxford
Mike Conrad is a teacher at Royal Oakland High School. He tells PBS News Hour that he finds having open discussions with his students is key.
"Students want to talk about it. They want to voice their opinions about it. They're being very smart about it. They are having pretty profound conversations. They're following facts. They're not following the social media hype or rumors."
Conrad says that what the national news isn't covering is the fact that the Oxford school shooting has a profound impact on students in surrounding communities.
"The story that's not out there, and I think a lot of people don't know about, is the story of the surrounding communities and how an event like Oxford High School's shooting is affecting more than Oxford."
Randy Stewart teaches at Fraser High School and echos Conrad's thoughts, saying
"The easiest way for me to process this is not to ignore it, but just to full steam ahead in regards to what my job is here."
Students Are Paying More Attention to Kids in Other Social Groups
Dorothea Williams-Arnold, a teacher at Cass Technical High School, says the tragedy has shown her students the importance of including classmates who sometimes are considered loners.
We have talked a lot about how important it is for them to help each other feel safe by paying attention to those loner students or the ones who are a little bit more quiet," Williams-Arnold said. "We had some group activities going on this week, and I noticed they seemed to be a little bit more open to paying attention to those kids who didn't have a group, who weren't selected for their own group."