One week ago a former student brought a gun to a Florida High School and took 17 lives. It is a loss that is being felt across the nation.
Here in metro-Detroit, schools from Fraser to Garden City to South Lyon are seeing an increase in reported threats. Some are real, but most are based on fear-fueled rumors.
Typically Fraser Police see a handful of possible threats at schools a year. In just the one week since a Valentine’s day shooting at a Florida high school - police and the Fraser school district have received numerous reports.So far police say no real threats have been identified. Police have diligently looked into reports, and found evidence many are rumors that start when comments are taken out of context and repeated on social media.
“Our biggest issue is we have parents who hear things from their students and instead of contacting us, they post it on-line. While they believe it might be true, it is not true,” said Officer Lisa Pettyes of the Fraser Police Department.
In other cases information on social media is true. This morning Garden City High School went into lockdown for hours after a student sent out a Snapchat message - showing a bullet found in the school. The bullet had not been fired.
“(The message on Snapchat) It was more of and, oh my gosh - look what I found, there was at no time any threats conveyed to the building, staff, or students,” said Derek Fisher, Garden City Superintendent.
Garden City Police searched the building for weapons to make sure the bullet wasn’t evidence of something else.
“Because of that search we can say with some confidence that was the only ammunition or contraband in the school today,” said Tim Gibbons, the Garden City Chief of Police.
In the meantime potentially real threats are leading to serious consequences. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says Ryan DeBruyne of Lyon Township has been charged with telephone harassment and threat charges in connection to threats he allegedly made on Snapchat to shoot up South Lyon High School.
The superintendent of Garden City Schools says school leaders across the state are taking all reported threats seriously and encourages people to report concerns on an app called Okay2Say.
“We care deeply about our kids and want to protect every child that comes into our building,” said Superintendent David Richards of the Fraser School District.
Okay2Say is a free app you can download to your phone that allows you to anonymously report any concerns about school or student, across the state.