OXFORD, Mich. (WXYZ) — On Monday morning, student in Oxford will return to the High School for the first time since the deadly shooting rampage.
"I am so proud to say that we are re-opening our high school this Monday Jan. 24 we are reclaiming our high school back," says Steven Wolf the principal at Oxford High School in a video posted to the schools YouTube page.
After months of counseling, construction, and caution, students will return to the classroom, but they are returning to a fresh look.
The building has been painted with calming colors, there are new murals, soft white lights, and words of encouragement from middle schoolers posted on the lockers.
“We have been so blessed to get to this point and we have had so much help, so much help from outside groups, countless experts," says Wolf.
One of those experts is Doctor Jim Henry. A psychologist specializing in childhood trauma at Western State University (WSU). Dr. Henry has been hosting sessions of healing for the staff and families at Oxford.
“What I've said to them, it’s okay to feel a range of things. One minute you may be very mad coming into school, the next minute you may be very sad, the next minute oh it’s okay I’m with my group of friends here and I'm having fun,” says Dr. Henry.
During the workshops, Dr. Henry says he has been coaching staff on how to help students cope with their emotions.
“Teachers have been working on ways to help kids with breathing so, breathing calms the body, breathing calms the brain so I can think.”
Extra counselors and security will be on standby Monday. In an effort to engage in gradual exposure, the High School has hosted open houses over the weekend so families can tour the school together at their own pace, before school starts.
“Students you have been filling us up with a tremendous amount of love and a tremendous amount of hope and we can’t wait to pour that right back into you,” says Wolf.