Detroit Police Chief James Craig on school threats: 'It's going to stop'

Chief says Detroit schools received 23 threats in 24 hours

By Shawn Ley - Reporter, John Steckroth - Editor, Dave Bartkowiak Jr.

DETROIT - Police Chief James Craig held a news conference Thursday regarding the recent string of threats made against schools within the city of Detroit.

Schools across the country have been plagued by a rash of school threats since the massacre that killed 17 high school students and faculty in Parkland, Fla. Since the shooting in Parkland, a total of 40 threats against schools were received by the Detroit Police Department: two bombing threats, 34 shooting threats, and four threats to shoot and bomb.

Moreover, Craig said his department received 23 reports of threats against schools in the past 24 hours.

"It's going to stop," Craig said. "These type of threats cause significant fear."

Craig said in some of the incidents parents encouraged the children to make threats. He said police detained three juveniles and arrested one adult in connection to recent school threats.

"Regardless of your age or the method you use, we will find you and we will arrest you," he said. 

Based on the increase of threats, the department plans to increase the man power in their cybercrime unit. A threat was posted to Instagram indicating there would be a shooting Thursday at noon at the Detroit Leadership Academy. The threat included names of individuals that would be targeted by the shooter. The school remained open as school officials continue “looking into these prank messages.” 

State police call on parents to get involved

Lt. Michael Shaw, of the Michigan State Police, said it is the parent's responsibility to know what their child is doing on his or her cellphone. 

"The parents take care of what goes on that cellphone," he said. 

Shaw said parents could be held responsible if law enforcement finds out they knew about a threat their child made and did not report it.

“Parents are responsible. You should know your kid’s passwords. If you don’t, you better get them, because we’re going to talk to the parents, too, and find out how those kids got access and what they were doing. Like the chief said, if mom and dad knew about it, we’re coming for you, too.”

Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti took to Twitter on Thursday morning calling the threats "teenage pranks."

"DPSCD has added security presence to schools where threats have been made," he tweeted. "The threats have caused undue but justified fear. The FBI and police are actively investigating the threats. Unfortunately, students will be prosecuted. DPSCD parents and families, please actively review the social media use of children. Recent threats are teenage pranks."

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