Schools are changing policies as they learn about what happened at Oxford high

Posted at 8:14 PM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 20:14:56-05

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — Schools around metro Detroit have been having meetings with school leaders, law enforcement and the community.

The goal is to learn how to protect children as much as possible as we learn from the tragedy at Oxford High School Last week.

“It just really zeroed in everything we have to do to keep these kids safe,” Cabrini High School Principal Donna Sweeney said.

Cabrini High School opened its doors to 7 Action News as it developed part of its plan on Wednesday.

Retired Detroit Police Department Assistant Chief Steve Dolunt is now the athletic director at Cabrini high in Allen Park. He says when you talk to students, they aren’t just worried about security, they are grieving with Oxford.

To honor victims, school leaders in metro Detroit and across the country are spending days reviewing policies and trying to learn how to improve.

“Tomorrow, we are going to meet with the kids in the morning and go over, this is real,” Dolunt said.

On Dolunt’s desk are pamphlets on Ok2Say, an app students across Michigan can use to anonymously report danger, reports on how to protect students and how how to identify students in need of mental health support.

School leaders have developed a plan for each classroom that teachers will go over with students.

“What happens in my classroom might be different than your classroom because our set up is different,” Sweeney said.

Just as classrooms are different, schools are choosing different tools.

For example, Lake Orion High School told WXYZ it will be moving to requiring clear back packs. Cabrini High School is not, but understands the reasoning.

“Yes, a clear backpack is a deterrent. But if I want to get it in, I am going to get it in,” Dolunt said.

He says there are pros and cons to everything. For example cellphones allow students to call for help, but they also add to stressful distractions on social media. Cabrini high doesn’t allow cell phones in class.

“Having the plans in place and our protocols to keep kids safe, that is something we work really hard on,” Allen Park Police Chief Chris Egan said..

Egan worked with school leaders at Cabrini on Wednesday. He says one of his goals after seeing what happened at Oxford high is to make sure schools in his community feel comfortable reaching out to police, even if they are looking for help getting a child mental health support, not necessarily a criminal conviction.

“I want the person in crisis to come to us and the person sitting next to them to be able to say, 'Hey, I think this person needs help,'” Egan said.