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Oxford School Parents Upset With District’s Decison Disallowing Students to Wear Gun Violence Survivor Graduation Chords

Photo: Sarahbeth Maney ~ USA TODAY NETWORK

OXFORD, May 17, 2023 ~ As survivors of the Oxford High School shooting are set to graduate, some parents and students feel the district is not allowing outgoing students to honor their fallen peers the way they want to.

The Oxford class of 2023 will attend their graduation ceremony Thursday, with many seniors wanting to wear orange chords to recognize themselves as gun violence survivors, following the 2021 shooting that left four students dead. This has left some parents upset with the school district’s decision.

About 175 students reached out to the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety for the orange chords, the color being a symbol of gun violence survivors and prevention. Everytown sent the chords to the Oxford students for free.


May 16, 2023 ~ Oxford Community School mothers Marisa Prince and Lori Bourgeau talk with Guy Gordon about the school district asking graduating seniors not to wear orange commencement cords to symbolize them as survivors of gun violence.

(CONTINUED) When the seniors went to ask the district if they could wear them, school administrators said they were not allowed to stray from traditional graduation attire.

Marisa Prince and Lori Bourgeau, two Oxford Community Schools mothers, said to 760 WJR’s Guy Gordon that the district is just trying to control them one last time. While they both acknowledged that the school is offering other accessories to honor their peers, Bourgeau said these students should be able to close this chapter of their lives on their own terms.

When asked if the chords were too political, Prince said the ceremony is for the students and that parents and the school should respect what they have been through.

The district says (the students) need to earn the chords, and if any (people) have earned to wear these chords, (they are) these students,” Bourgeau said.