Oxford shooting survivor distribution plan expands eligibility

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The finalized plan for how $2 million in donations will be distributed to families of victims and survivors expands applicants’ eligibility by increasing the designated area where they must have been present at the time of the shooting.

The draft distribution protocol included the hallway where the Nov. 30 shooting occurred, two restrooms, and a classroom. The final version includes all classrooms and another bathroom along the hallway, meaning hundreds of students and staff are now eligible to receive funds.

The donation pool, which totaled $2.03 million as of Tuesday afternoon, is managed by the National Compassion Fund. The non-profit organization facilitates donations to victims of mass crimes. His previous campaigns included mass shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe High School in New Mexico.

The categories of eligibility criteria are still three in number: the legal heirs of those killed, those injured by bullets – defined as being hit by shrapnel or bullets – and those who were present at the scene of the the shooting and who are experiencing psychological trauma and sought mental health treatment before May 7. The proposed plan, published in February, provided a shorter deadline for people in the latter category, requiring them to have received mental health counseling by March 30.

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The extension allows families and students to reflect on their mental state and gives them enough time to seek help if they need it, said Jeff Dion, executive director of the National Compassion Fund and manager of the Oxford fund. .

“One of the things we know about trauma is that most trauma is self-resolving,” Dion said, “and the trauma that is not self-resolving—usually in three months or so – that’s the most likely trauma to benefit from some sort of mental health intervention to help relieve the person’s symptoms.”

The protocol also now includes those who provided direct assistance to gunshot victims, even outside the designated area, or who did something that prevented the death. Students and faculty who were in physical proximity to the shooter and in imminent danger of death or who assisted a gunshot victim may be eligible to receive a higher level of payment.

The finalized plan follows a town hall meeting on March 21 where parents and community members provided feedback on the draft distribution plan to the National Compassion Fund Steering Committee.

Members of the Steering Committee listen during the Donation Distribution Plan town hall at the Oxford High School Auditorium in Oxford on Monday March 21, 2022. The fund will be distributed to those affected by the November 30, 2021 shooting.

“Through the town hall and the written feedback we received, we got a clearer picture of what people were exposed to that day,” Dion said, explaining why the committee decided to expand the eligibility area. “We heard people in those classrooms could see the shooter or couldn’t lock the door, and so there were some really awful things that people were exposed to.”

The amount offered to individuals will be determined based on the amount of money raised up to May 20 – when the fund is due to close for donations – and a review of all applications. The funds offered to the beneficiaries can be used as they wish.

An application portal is expected to be released on April 4 and funds are expected to be distributed in mid-June.

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