A 17-year-old female student is facing a number of charges after allegedly threatening to shoot up Howell High School.
Howell High School contacted the police department after the threat was discovered on Twitter.
Sarah Hiler was arraigned on a number of charges including Filing a False Report, Threatening to Commit Terrorism, Using a Computer to Commit a Crime.
Some of these charges carry more than 20 years in prison if convicted.
She was being released to her parents on $100,000 bond.
LETTER SENT TO PARENTS FROM THE SCHOOL DISTRICT
Students learn best when they feel safe and supported. Each day, our primary goal is to ensure that our schools are a safe place for students and staff. Unfortunately, last night we had two situations where threats were made against two of our schools. While these threats may not have affected your child's school, I felt it was important to share what details we can and what actions have been taken.
The first threat was made from an anonymous Twitter account and directed to the high school. As soon as we were made aware of the threat, we contacted the Howell Police Department who immediately began a full investigation. In working with Twitter, the police department was able to identify the source of the tweet and the individual who made it. This person is currently in custody for making a threat against a school. Furthermore, the police determined that this was not a credible threat. As such, we felt comfortable holding classes at the high school today.
The second threat was at Parker Middle School. Last night, we were contacted by a local police department regarding an investigation that they had started into a Parker student who had created a list of Parker students and staff members that the student would like to see harmed. The Livingston County Sheriff's Department visited the student's home and spoke with the student and their family. After a thorough investigation, the Sheriff's Department determined that there was no credible threat to Parker students or staff.
Additionally, the Sheriff's Department determined that the student did not have a plan or the means to harm any students or staff. The student's family is cooperating with the Sheriff's Department.
The student who created the list was not in school today and will not be in school for the immediate future as we complete the investigation into the matter and work to determine our next steps. In the coming days, Law Enforcements officials will be completing their investigation and determining their next steps.
As with the threat against the high school, we felt comfortable holding classes at Paker today based on the information we received from the Sheriff's Department.
Since these are ongoing investigations, I am unable to provide further comment on them. However, please know that if at anytime we did not feel like we could ensure the safety of our students and staff, we would take the appropriate steps up to and including canceling school for the day. Whenever we receive a threat, we take it very seriously and work very closely with law enforcement officials to determine our plan of action.
A threat against a school is not a joking matter and carries the potential for very serious criminal charges against the person who has made the threat. While I wish I were not writing this letter, I do think we can use this as a learning opportunity for our students. We can remind them of the safe and appropriate use of social media and that nothing online is truly anonymous.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Howell Police Department and the Livingston County Sheriff's Department for their swift action on both of these incidents.
Erin J. MacGregor
Howell Public Schools