Police give all-clear after false alarm at Bloomfield Hills High School

Bloomfield Township police say no threat to community

Bloomfield Hills High School during a lockdown situation on Dec. 19, 2019. (WDIV)

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – Police responded to Bloomfield Hills High School on Thursday after an alarm was activated, but it turned out to be a false alarm, according to school officials.

The BluePoint alert system was activated at 11:58 a.m., according to Bloomfield Township police.

Students and faculty use a “run, hide, fight” method, so some students evacuated the building and others locked down, officials said.

The school liaison officer was in the building at the time of the alarm being activated, and 31 additional Bloomfield Township police units arrived within two minutes, according to authorities. Police from multiple surrounding agencies also responded, officials said.

Officers entered the school, conducted a room-by-room search and evacuated the remaining students and staff members.

Students and staff members congregated at Lifetime Fitness, Bloomfield Township campus buildings, Kirk in the Hills Church and surrounding businesses, police said.

Students were taken by buses to the Bloomfield Township Library to be reunited with parents and the school was cleared of any threat, according to authorities.

Staff members were allowed back inside the school at 1:45 p.m., officials said.

Bloomfield Township police are still investigating the cause of the alarm.

There is no threat to the community, but Bloomfield Township police will have an increased uniformed officer presence at the high school during related activities, police said.

Bloomfield Township police and firefighters were assisted by authorities from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, Oakland County Aviation, Berkley Public Safety, Birmingham police, Royal Oak police, Michigan State Police, Detroit police, West Bloomfield police, the Bloomfield Hills Department of Public Safety, the FBI, the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team, Auburn Hills police, Troy police and Beverly Hills Public Safety.

Letter to Bloomfield Hills High School parents

Tina Kostiuk, the interim superintendent of Bloomfield Hills Schools, sent the following letter to parents about the incident:

Dear Bloomfield Hills schools families,

“Today, at 11:58 a.m. the BluePoint alarm was sounded at Bloomfield Hills High School. One of our school officers was in the building and responded immediately to the location indicated by BluePoint. Students and staff train in “Run, Hide, Fight” so some students evacuated and others locked down. Additional Bloomfield Township Police arrived at 12:00 p.m. and roughly 60 officers from local and surrounding police departments responded within minutes.

“All building administrators across the district received the BluePoint alert and all schools were immediately put into Shelter In Place mode as a precautionary measure. Shelter In Place calls for regular activities to continue throughout the building, but no one enters or exits the building during that time for any reason.

“Officers searched the Bloomfield Hills High School campus and evacuated remaining students and staff room by room. Students and staff who evacuated sought shelter in Bloomfield Township campus buildings, Lifetime Fitness, and the Kirk in the Hills Church. Students and staff were then transported by district buses to the Bloomfield Township Library where they were reunified with parents and guardians and supported by district counseling staff.

“I would like to first thank the staff of Bloomfield Hills High School who did an outstanding job supporting students as they evacuated or locked down, boarded buses, and reunified with family members. Staff were present and supported the needs of our students throughout the process.

“I would also like to thank the first responders who quickly arrived at the high school. First responders from Oakland County Sheriff, Oakland County Aviation, Berkley Public Safety, Birmingham Police Department, Royal Oak Police Department, Michigan State Police, Detroit Police, West Bloomfield Police, Bloomfield Hills Department of Public Safety, FBI, Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team, Auburn Hills Police Department, Troy Police Department, West Bloomfield Fire Department, and Birmingham Fire Department responded within minutes and it is incredibly reassuring to know we have that kind of support when we need it.

“Finally, I am appreciative of the support provided by our local community partners. The staff at Lifetime Fitness, Clergy and support staff at Kirk in the Hills, Bloomfield Township Library, Bloomfield Township campus staff, and other local businesses wrapped around our students and staff today in a way only a true community can. We are grateful to live in a place that cares so deeply about our school family and is ready to spring into action without notice.

“Bloomfield Hills High School is more than 380,000 square feet and sits on a large campus. The police were able to provide the “all clear” at approximately 1:45 p.m. I appreciate their thorough sweep of the school and the reassurance we now have. As a result, school will be open tomorrow. Out of an abundance of caution, we will have a uniform police presence tomorrow during the day and this evening at after school activities.

“We recognize that today’s events may have been traumatic for all those involved - especially our students. Counseling staff were available today and will be available for any students who need an additional level of support tomorrow. The emotions following a traumatic or scary experience can be intense for children and teens and tonight your child may feel vulnerable or unsure of their overall safety. The following are some things to keep in mind:

“It is important to be able to recognize the signs that may indicate a need for additional support. Prolonged sadness, withdrawal from social contact, changes in eating or sleeping habits, or other behaviors unusual for your child may indicate that your child needs additional support. If you notice any change in your child or their behavior, please reach out to our school team.

“Encourage your child to talk with you about how they are feeling. Make yourself available to talk about their feelings in an open and age-appropriate way.

“All feelings are normal. Some children may feel angry or scared and others may feel completely fine. All feelings are normal and it is important to accept them equally.

“Recognize that you, as the parent or guardian, will have your own emotions from today’s events and while sharing feelings openly is important, it is also important to ensure you are not transferring your feelings onto your child.

“While our immediate focus is on the safety and social/emotional well-being of our students and staff, we are also in the process of conducting an investigation. Our team will work alongside Bloomfield Township Police to hopefully determine the cause of the alarm. If you or your child has any information to share that may be helpful in our investigation, please contact Bloomfield Township Police.

“We recognize that this event is an opportunity for our team to continue to improve our overall safety and security efforts. While our internal team will debrief alongside police, we also welcome your input. If you have any feedback you’d like to share, please email communications@bloomfield.org. Safety and security is a community effort and a community responsibility.

“Thank you for all of your support.”

West Bloomfield High School to increase police presence

School officials from the West Bloomfield School District sent a message to families in regard to the incident at Bloomfield Hills High School.

Here’s the letter from West Bloomfield School District Community Relations and Marketing Coordinator Dan Durkin:

"Earlier today, a BluePoint Alert pull station (intruder alert) was pulled at Bloomfield Hills High School. Police responded to the scene immediately and swept the building. There was no evidence of an active event taking place. Responders believe that the alarm was pulled or malfunctioned. This alert appears to have been a false alarm. Police are still sweeping the school to ensure student and staff safety.

"As a precaution, West Bloomfield High School will have an increased police presence in an effort to maintain and ensure safety and security for those within the building. There is no threat to any West Bloomfield school, and classes will continue as usual throughout the district.

“Thank you for your understanding and have a great rest of your day.”

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.