Updated: March 6, 2023
The recent decision by the Oakland County Circuit Court regarding the immunity of Oxford Community Schools and its employees will have no adverse impact on our independent investigation. Our work continues unabated.
Since our last update, we have continued to receive greater voluntary cooperation from District employees including critical witnesses. The interviews for most critical witnesses have been completed. We are in the process of scheduling a handful more interviews with critical witnesses over the coming weeks. We thank all current and former Oxford Schools employees, officials, and Board members who have voluntarily talked to us and their counsel for helping to facilitate these interviews.
Additionally, the District has provided us with all requested materials (including pre-November 30, 2021 communications with counsel) except for a handful of new procedure documents that are currently being implemented and reviewed by the District. We expect that at the end of the District’s implementation and review process, hopefully in early April, we will be able to examine and report on whether certain District procedures are in place and consistent with best practices. We have received from the District almost 700,000 documents (around 790 gigabytes), of which approximately 70,000 documents were responsive and required human review for relevance and materiality.
Our reports will provide the community with a full accounting of what is currently in place and what happened before, during, and after the tragic events of November 30, 2021.
Posted January 27, 2022
Update from Guidepost Solutions on the Status of the Oxford Community Schools Board of Education Independent Investigation
On November 22, 2022, Ken Weaver resigned as Superintendent of Oxford Community Schools. This followed on the heels of the resignations of two board members including the board president. As was stated publicly at the school board meeting that evening, as of November 22, 2022, Guidepost had a fifty percent voluntary cooperation rate, and expected to release its first report documenting the Oxford Community Schools’ current security and threat assessment practices in late January 2023.
Shortly after the announcement of former Superintendent Weaver’s resignation, the Oxford Community Schools Board of Education appointed Anita Qonja-Collins followed by Dr. Vickie Markavitch to serve as Superintendent on an interim basis. Dan D’Alessandro was appointed board president. Additionally, another board member was appointed to serve the remainder of the term of one of the board members who resigned, and three new board members were elected by the citizens of Oxford.
Since early December through January 2023 and now leading into February 2023, voluntary cooperation has increased.
Critical witnesses, administrators, staff, teachers, in addition to Oakland County Sheriff employees seconded to Oxford Community Schools agreed to meet with us. Guidepost now expects to have a seventy to eighty percent voluntary participation rate at the conclusion of our investigation. This increase includes around forty to fifty percent of the critical witnesses or witnesses represented by counsel who we have requested to interview either already sitting for their interview, will have their interview in the coming weeks, or have indicated their intent to meet with us over the next month. Additionally, Oxford Community Schools has a new Executive Director of School Operations who is in the best position to provide context about what is currently in place and may change in the future as it relates to the district’s security and threat assessment practices who we will meet with next week.
Because of these personnel changes and the opportunity to report to the Oxford community on the current security and threat assessment practices with additional information that derives from the increase in voluntary cooperation, Guidepost’s first report will now be released in Spring 2023. This report and any subsequent report will be released to the public at the same time as it is released to the Oxford Community Schools’ Board of Education and its administration. Our public report(s) will be unedited and without influence from any stakeholder associated with the Oxford Community Schools.
For those who have not met with us yet but may have information to contribute, Guidepost’s interviews are confidential and anonymous, where appropriate, meaning generally your voluntary cooperation will not be shared with the district, its counsel, or anyone else associated with the district. We are happy to meet with you at a site outside of Oxford that can help provide you with confidentiality and anonymity, where appropriate. Additionally, our investigators are all trauma informed and are intentional with their approach to ensure a witness’s safety and security.
If you are interested in meeting with us, please confidentially reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or directly to one of our investigators to set up a time to meet. We are offering in person and virtual interviews, the latter of which can also be done from the comfort of a person’s home or offsite during or after work hours including in the late evening.
As for the twenty to thirty percent of witnesses, and the fifty to sixty percent of critical witnesses who have not yet voluntarily cooperated with the independent investigation, whether represented by counsel or otherwise, we still request your participation. Guidepost cannot compel cooperation. In an investigation where cooperation is entirely voluntary, it is not unusual to receive imperfect participation especially where there is a fear of criminal or civil liability to self, coworkers, or the district. However, in this investigation because to our knowledge no District official or employee faces criminal charges, and generally are indemnified by the district, we find it unfortunate that certain witnesses have decided not to voluntarily cooperate to help make Oxford Community Schools stronger, to provide transparency to the community each serves, and to help a review that is intended to inform ways that Oxford Community Schools and school districts across Michigan and this nation can better provide safety and security to students, teachers, staff and other community members from violence. Our fundamental question that we want to learn from each witness is what Oxford Community Schools can do better to help make each person we meet with more successful and effective in doing their job particularly in providing safety and security now and in the future. Additionally, we continue to believe that it is a mistake for current and former Oxford Community Schools’ employees who will be discussed in our report to not meet with us to explain what led up to and occurred on November 30 from their perspective. A decision to not cooperate with the investigation hinders our ability to understand context that only the witness can speak to about the facts. In our experience, the extent of third-party interference of this investigation has been unusually extraordinary. Thankfully, recently, effective communication has dispelled many misunderstandings of the investigative process and intent and has helped address concerns particularly of people not represented by counsel and increased voluntary participation. In the face of these challenges, our continued intent and hope is that our report will be comprehensive and informative and will include facts currently not known and build upon facts already available to the public.
Posted September 12, 2022
Guidepost Solutions has been hired to conduct an independent investigation into the events surrounding the tragedy of November 30, 2021, at Oxford High School. As we diligently pursue this investigation, we have spoken to community members, students, Oxford High School staff and administrators, teachers, and family members. These sessions have been invaluable. It is important that we continue to speak to anyone who wishes to share relevant information.
Should you schedule an interview? If you have information regarding the handling of the tragic events, or those events leading up to or after November 30, please schedule a time to speak with the Guidepost team.
When: On October 12, October 13, and October 14.
Where: Interviews will be held at two locations. Please choose the location and date that is most convenient or comfortable for you by selecting the link of your preferred location.
Springhill Suites Auburn Hills, 4919 Interpark Dr, Orion Twp – first floor conference room
Oxford Public Library, 530 Pontiac St, Oxford – private conference room
Who: A dedicated team of trauma-informed Guidepost professionals.
If you would like to schedule an interview with the Guidepost team, please click here to register at the Springhill Suites Auburn Hills or here to register at the Oxford Public Library, for an interview time slot. At Guidepost, we know that every report is important, and we are working carefully to ensure that all information is handled appropriately as we work to prepare our public report.
Parents are welcome to attend interviews with their Oxford High School children.
If you are unable to find a suitable time slot or would like to schedule a virtual interview, please reach out to Morgan Maiorino at email@example.com.
Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to meeting with you. If you have any questions about the interview itself or the process, please do not hesitate to contact Laura Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-603-1586.
Posted July 28, 2022
The Oxford Community Schools Board of Education has commissioned an independent investigation into the events leading up to, on the day of, and following the tragic shooting at Oxford High School on November 30, 2021.
A dedicated website was created for the latest updates on the investigation and can be viewed here.
The independent investigation is underway. To maintain the independence and integrity of the investigation, neither the board nor the district administration is engaged in the investigation. Please direct all questions about the investigation to the investigative team.
If you have relevant information to share or if you would like to communicate with someone on the investigative team, please contact us at Oxford@guidepostsolutions.com.
SCOPE OF INVESTIGATION
Review & Evaluation
Investigation team members have familiarized themselves with the Oxford Community Schools District, including its administration, the five primary schools, one middle school, one high school, two alternative schools, and the early learning school.
The team is now engaging in an extensive review and evaluation of the following. As the investigation proceeds, the team may identify additional areas for review and evaluation.
The team is reviewing relevant school policies, procedures and practices in place at the time of the shooting and evaluating whether they satisfy laws, regulations and best practices. Some of the areas under review include:
Recommendations & Report
Over the course of the investigation, the team will make recommendations to the school district if and when they identify areas for immediate action.
At the conclusion of the investigation, the team will provide the Oxford Community Schools Board of Directors and district administration with a comprehensive report of its findings and its full set of recommendations based on those findings.
The full report will be made public simultaneous with delivery to the board and district administration.
NOTES ON GUIDEPOST’S GUIDING PRINCIPLES AND METHODOLOGY
Throughout this investigation, the Guidepost process will be governed by best practices designed to ensure accountability, transparency, and care for the wellbeing of victims of the shooting, including students, teachers, staff, families and community members.
Key principles of our work will include:
At the conclusion of the investigation and accompanying security review, Guidepost will develop a complete set of findings and a comprehensive recommended framework within which the Oxford Community Schools can operate in order to continue to address the concerns raised by the Oxford community in a transparent and accountable manner that prioritizes care and enhances practices for prevention.
We will share the report with the community at the same time it is shared with the Board and school administration.
Guidepost will ensure that Oxford Community Schools develops a process that provides for historical accountability, healing for all stakeholders with an emphasis on victims and their families, and future supervision, monitoring, auditing and implementation of a safety and security program built on best practices and guided by security standards and guidelines.
If potentially illegal or unethical conduct is reported to Guidepost, Guidepost may conduct its own investigation or refer the matter to the appropriate authorities. Certain allegations, if reported to Guidepost, may trigger a mandatory reporting obligation to the appropriate authorities.
Further, in order to promote complete transparency and to ensure accountability, Guidepost will document whether any person or entity has withheld access to information, documents, records, facilities and/or employees, officers, agents, or others, or has otherwise obstructed or attempted to obstruct our investigation.