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Michigan ranks among top states for school threats after Parkland high school shooting

Threats prompt school lockdowns, closures across Michigan

Utica High School (WDIV)

DETROIT – Schools across the U.S. have been plagued by various types of threats in the days since the mass shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month.

In Michigan, seemingly every day since the mass shooting that killed 17 people, schools across the state have closed their doors after threats surfaced, either physical or on social media.

Schools in the area have been placed under numerous lockdown situations while police investigate threats.

The threats have resulted in several cases where students have been charged with felonies for making threats against their own schools. 

In the two weeks that followed the Parkland shooting, Michigan had a startling spike in threats, compared to other states.

Michigan in top 5 for school threats since Parkland

According to numbers compiled by The Educator's School Safety Network, a national non-profit school safety organization, Michigan had 41 violent threats against schools between Feb. 15 and Feb. 28.

Here are the top 10 states for school threats since Parkland:

  • Texas (61)
  • Ohio (52)
  • California (51)
  • Florida (44)
  • Michigan (41)
  • New York (36)
  • Pennsylvania (36)
  • Georgia (35)
  • Kentucky (30)
  • New Jersey (29)

READ: Sterling Heights teen arrested after social media threat of attack at Henry Ford II High School

Detroit police chief James Craig said on Thursday that Detroit Public School and charter schools have received more than 40 threats since the Parkland shooting.

10 states account for 48 percent of threats and incidents

According to ESSN, ten states accounted for 48% of all the threats and incidents that occurred between 2016 and 2017.

Among those ten states, Michigan ranked No. 8 in 2016 and No. 9 in 2017. The state actually saw an eight percent decrease in threats from fall of 2016 to fall of 2017.

READ: 17-year-old student accused of making threats against Ben Carson High School in Detroit

California, Pennsylvania and New York had double-digit percentage increases from year-to-year. Washington had a 91 percent uptick in threats.

From August to December 2017, there were more than 1,061 threats of violence, an average of 10.9 per day in America. That was up 12.6 percent from the previous year.

The organization notes that the numbers are likely under-reported due to numerous incidents or threats that were not properly documented.

READ: Eisenhower High School student charged after classmates alert administrators of threat

In the U.S., at least a dozen potential attacks (11.4 percent of all incidents) were identified between August and December of 2017. 

From fall 2016 to fall 2017, twenty states accounted for more than 70 percent of all threats and incidents. 

Are those making threats being punished?

While many students and young adults have faced various charges for making threats, many walk away without detention or jail time.

READ: 15-year-old who made threat against Michigan high school confessed plan to parents

Last week, Oakland County Circuit Chief Judge Shalina D. Kumar, in a written interview, addressed her concerns about the way juveniles are being dealt with: read more about this here.

Michigan State Police warn parents to be vigilant in monitoring social media in wake of threats

Michigan State Police say the best way to combat the wave of threats is parental involvement in social media.

"You're responsible to look at their social media, know their password, go into their sites and see what they're doing," Trooper Mike Shaw said. "Make sure everything is on the up and up. If you have suspicions about it, go in there and look."

READ: 'Demonic' student faces terrorism charge after L'Anse Creuse High School threat

MSP and prosecutors want teenagers to consider the time behind bars before looking for a day off from school.

"As a 17-year-old, you're an adult in Michigan," Shaw said. "You get connected to a false report of terrorism and that's 20 years in prison. You're in prison until you're 37."

READ: Student found with 2 loaded airsoft guns at middle school in South Lyon


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