Detroit schools reviewing safety equipment, security officers amid rise in threats

Posted at 5:45 AM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 05:45:56-05

(WXYZ) — It's been more than two weeks since the Oxford High School shooting, and school threats continue to cancel classes across metro Detroit.

In that time, dozens of students around metro Detroit are now facing serious charges for the threats.

They're also taking a mental toll on parents and students alike.

On Wednesday, Forsythe Middle School in Ann Arbor is closed following a student incident where law enforcement had to get involved.

In Wayne County, more charges have been issued against students who, prosecutors say, made threats against multiple schools. Four more students have been charged, with the youngest just 11 years old.

Since the shooting, more than 30 students in Wayne County alone have been charged, just some of the steps school leaders and law enforcement agencies are taking to try and keep people safe.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District is also reviewing building security equipment including metal detectors. They've received more than a dozen threats in the two weeks since the Oxford shooting.

Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti said they took the steps to make sure the teachers and parents were notified.

"All of these threats have been communicated to the faculty, staff and families. When the individual made the social media threat, we also communicated that," he said.

Security and active shooter plans, known as code red drills, are currently underway. The district does three code red drills per year.

There will be increased active shooter training and re-training in active shooter preparedness.

Vitti said the rumor to "defund the policy" after it had allegedly offered to buy out 13 campus officers was untrue. But, if they were to have resigned or retired, they were going to replace the position with a security guard.

Right now, there are 28 armed officers that patrol and are not stationed at the schools and 13 officers with special training at different schools.

School Board Member Sherry Gay-Dagnogo said phasing out armed officers is happening at the wrong time following the shooting in Oxford.

"These security officers don't have handcuffs, mace, or a weapon," she said. "We don't have enough of actual police officers. So, who is going to be at the neighborhood schools you mentioned?"

Vitti held his ground saying armed officers shouldn't be permanently based inside a school, but roam around the district to different schools.

"I think we need police officers hired and led by DPSCD, but I don't believe we should have individuals permanently placed at a school unless there is something going on at the school or we believe something will happen," Vitti said.

There will be further discussions regarding resource officers, the board said.