James Henry has been helping traumatized Oxford and MSU students after the shooting

To the children and teachers reeling in the aftermath of the 2021 Oxford school shooting, it probably seemed like there was no way out of the shock and grief. A school community had been violently victimized; beloved students and a teacher have left painful holes with their unbearable absences. Then, someone came to help.

James Henry, recognizable by his white beard and tinted glasses, was brought in to lead the trauma response to the shooting. He advised the school to dismantle the memorial put together by the students. He conducted a webinar for 500 parents, who signed up gravely to learn how to support their children through the pain, depression and anxiety of what they had been through.

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Seven months earlier, Henry had been fined, reprimanded and fined by the state of Michigan for practicing unlicensed and negligent welfare work.

Oxford Community Schools did not respond to questions about whether they had checked Henry’s credentials. But what they found might not matter.

James Henry is cofounder and director of the Children's Trauma Assessment Center, also known as CTAC, on the campus of Western Michigan University.

Michigan State also continued to contract Henry for two years after it took disciplinary action against him. The Department of Health and Human Services quietly terminated its contract with the Children’s Trauma Assessment Center, which Henry directed, this May.

And though Henry declined to be interviewed, several colleagues have come to his defense, arguing that his work and impact outweigh any ethical missteps.

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