New threats of violence are shutting schools down after tragedy in Oxford
More than a dozen Michigan school districts closed due to threats that emerged on social media in the wake of Tuesday’s shooting at Oxford High School.
Students in Hazel Park Community Schools are being encouraged to reach out to a trusted adult if they see or hear something “that doesn’t seem right.”
“There have been rumors circulating on social media indicating that other high schools may be at risk of experiencing a tragedy similar to the one that occurred recently at Oxford High School,” Superintendent Amy Kruppe said in a letter to the community, which is about 30 miles from Oxford. “Although there appear to be no credible threats at this time, there will be no in-person or virtual learning for the day.”
Holly Area Schools closed “out of an abundance of caution” Thursday and Friday after police interviewed several students who shared threatening posts on social media late Wednesday, Superintendent Scott Roper said in a joint statement with the village’s police chief. “The investigation has produced no source for the original threat, but instead several second and third-hand reports from individuals sharing what they heard others say,” the statement says. “We respectfully ask our students and community to stop sharing the threats on social media platforms.”
Police in Holly, about 25 miles from Oxford, deemed the threat “not credible due to a lack of evidence” but will continue to investigate in the coming days.
Lake Orion Community Schools, about six miles from Oxford, shut down Thursday, and potentially longer, after finding “various concerning social media posts about potential violence,” Superintendent Ben Kirby said.
Walled Lake Consolidated Schools, about 30 miles away, was closed Thursday “due to the serious nature of social media threats related to additional school violence across Oakland County circulating late this evening,” Superintendent Kenneth Gutman said Wednesday night.
The Oxford School District, where the shooting that killed four students took place, is also closed for the rest of the week.
Avondale School District, Bloomfield Hills School District, Brandon School District, Clawson Public Schools, Lamphere Schools, Novi Community School District, Rochester Community Schools, Troy Schools, Warren Consolidated Schools and West Bloomfield School District were also closed for some or all of the week. Farmington Public Schools closed three of its four high schools on Thursday.
But it wasn’t only districts in Michigan that closed this week due to social media threats. Near Niagara Falls, New York, Lockport High School and Lockport High School West shifted to remote learning on Thursday “based on social media threats.”
“The police and FBI are working collaboratively with the district to interview students today and further investigate the posts,” the Lockport City School District said on its website.
On the West Coast, Bothell High School in Washington’s Northshore School District shifted to remote learning on Thursday after threatening graffiti was discovered on campus, Superintendent Michelle Reid announced.
Reid encouraged the individual who wrote the graffiti to reach out to school counselors for support. “If this message was meant as a call for help, threatening anyone, let alone an entire school population is not the way,” she wrote. “If there is an issue with anyone in the school, there are a number of avenues to resolve the issue.”