10 Questions with Mr. C

Eshal Sajjad, Staff Reporter

The recent run of school violence has deeply affected the Woodhaven Brownstown school community, and combined with the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people are struggling. Eshal Sajjad sat down with Principal Matt Czajkowski to discuss what the WBSD and WHS are doing proactively to support the wellness and safety of all here at Woodhaven High School.

 

Q: How has the Oxford shooting personally affected you?

A: Personally it’s been very difficult to see another high school so close to home be negatively impacted by such a tragic event. As an administrator you do a lot of self reflection during that time to see what we’re doing as a school, how we’re doing, and what we can do differently to make sure kids are as safe as possible.
 

Q: The money WHS has fundraised of Oxford– where is it going?

A: The money will be combined with the money we raised with Patrick Henry and it will be sent to Oxford High School. 

 

Q: Do you currently plan to hold more events in the honor of Oxford?

A: At this time there is nothing planned, not that we are not holding them forefront in our thoughts and prayers, but we’re shifting our focus to our own students and the concerns they have and find a way to make this place the safest place possible.

 

Q: How has the rise of Michigan school threats and shootings personally affected you? 

I’ve spent a lot of time since then thinking and walking through our day as students, as adults, as teachers, and administrators and trying to make adjustments and changes to make this school safe. 

 

Q: What does WBSD plan on doing at this moment to ensure the safety of our school?

A: A couple of adjustments we have made currently was creating the [email protected] email address shared with students and parents to make reporting issues concerning our school easier for them. We’ve also minimized entry points at our school–we no longer allow kids to enter through counseling, and we make sure there is an adult at each entry point. 

 

Q: What does WBSD plan on implementing to ensure more safety measures for our students?

A: We’re looking at possible changes upfront to the main office. So far we’ve required people to sign in and check in for anybody to come to visit, and they need to wear a sticker, they must sign in, and they need to show ID. We’re looking at other options, but that is what we have done so far. We are also looking into a buzzer system for students who come throughout the day. 

 

Q: How is the administration addressing the mental health crisis at WHS?

A: Currently the staff members have just started a mental health committee that we’re just getting off the ground. The plan for the committee is to meet next Wednesday and start adding mental health opportunities for our students. Whether that’s through videos, assemblies, and also resources. We have a school social worker, we have three counselors, students can go to them or email them, and we can get them in the right direction. But, we want to do more than that. So that’s why we’re starting a mental health taskforce.  

 

Q: What resources does WBSD have for students who are struggling with mental health? 

A: Our counselors are here, we have a school social worker, and just a caring, supporting staff. Our goal is to make sure every student in this building has at least one person they can talk to. If we have a student in our building who does not have that adult– we need to do a better job. Knowing who to go to is the first step, so having someone they can talk to and rely on is important. 

 

Q: What do you want to say to the students who are currently feeling unsafe in school? 

A: Number one, I want to say, please, if you can, please share your concerns with us so we can talk about them. No concern is too small, and if you have a concern we would like to hear about it and see what we can do. Number two, get help with those concerns. Whether that be talking to someone about it, writing about it,, emailing about it, getting it off your chest can sometimes help. Just know that we take each concern seriously and we will follow up on all of them, whether that means meeting with the student, telling them what we are doing, what we are planning to do, or explaining why we can’t do something in particular. 

 

Q: What advice can you offer students who are currently struggling with mental health? 

A: I want them to know that you are not alone. I want them to reach out and know that there are better days ahead, even when it’s the worst of times and it never seems like it’s going to get better. Reach out to somebody that you know cares about you. If they think there is no one that cares about them, tell them they’re wrong. Every teacher cares about every kid, and it’s important we let kids know that. If they don’t know who that is, their counselor always cares, our administration always cares, every teacher cares.