#BeTheAction: Students show support, ask for action in response to Oxford tragedy

By Terry Jacoby/weloveannarbor.com

Pioneer High School students are showing their support for the Oxford community following this week’s tragedy at Oxford High School by asking fellow students and staff to wear blue and gold (Oxford’s school colors) on Friday and to stand up for their beliefs and “to be heard.”

They are encouraging all students to repost the above graphic that will be attached below using the hashtag #BeTheAction. The students also have contacted other local schools (middle and high schools) to join them in this initiative.

“I want to show my support and condolences and that of our school community to theirs,” says Pioneer senior Ben Kalosa-Kenyon. “I also want to express that our unity and strength is much more significant than that of the people who perpetrate our communities in horrifying ways such as just happened earlier this week.

“I hope our school is still safe and I appreciate all that our adults in the building do to ensure it is, however I find it difficult to feel completely secure with what’s gone on recently in the front of my mind.”

Cookie Baugh, another senior at Pioneer, says she feels “compelled to show support of and compassion for Oxford High School” in part because this event happened in Michigan.

“I am a school-aged student and have sadly had to deal indirectly with the fear of school shootings my entire life, and I believe there is a moment where you choose to be silent or take action,” she says. “I have decided to take action. Creating and using our hashtag #BeTheAction all of our voices can be heard.”

Bizzy Webb, a senior at Pioneer High School and student leader/organizer, helped organize the Oxford Blue & Gold out initiative. She, like many students, will never forget hearing about the tragedy at Oxford High School where four students were killed and others injured on Tuesday.

“My heart sank, my stomach flipped, and tears jolted down my cheeks after hearing the events that took place at Oxford High School,” she says. “I talked to my parents that evening, and through mourning, anger and fearful breaths I said, ‘I and no other student should be afraid to go to school, and for that matter check over their shoulders out of fear that they will be shot.’”

Webb admitted “feeling more weight than usual” walking into school the next day – as it always feels more real when the tragedy hits close to home.

“Cookie, Ben, and I knew that enough was enough, and sat in a conference room for three hours calling and emailing a multitude of schools, hoping to create a state-wide impact by showing our love and solidarity with Oxford,” she said. “This event has definitely made my peers and I hug our friends and family a little tighter, and appreciate the life that we do lead.”

The group reached out to over 25 schools in Michigan, urging schools to unite, by participating in this initiative, while also curating the slogan #BeTheAction.

“As student leaders, we know that no student should have to feel unsafe, and furthermore, fear for their lives at school,” Webb says. “School should be a safe haven for students to learn expressively, find passions through extra-curriculars, and make long-lasting friendships. We are tired of school shootings being a normality in American society, and feel that it is critical to show solidarity at this time so we can be the change we want to see in the world.”

“Since beginning kindergarten, I’ve had to participate in lockdowns, the what-if’s of school shooters. Often, students become complacent and don’t take them seriously. Then a tragedy like that at Oxford High School occurs and we are once again reminded of our immortality, fears, and uncertainties. Safe? Yes. But with a heightened sense of awareness and emotion – absolutely. I do want to say that I believe in the positive intentions of AAPS and the Pioneer administrators and teachers in their efforts to keep us safe, but there also needs to be policy and change!”

– Cookie Baugh, Pioneer senior

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