ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. – A staff member at a Michigan middle school was placed on administrative leave and arrested Friday after district officials said she placed inappropriate, hand-written notes, including a threat against the school, in teacher work areas.
The suspect, whose name is not being released pending charges, was discovered via school security camera footage at Jefferson Middle School in St. Clair Shores, around 20 miles northeast of Detroit, said Lakeview Public Schools Superintendent Karl Paulson, in a letter to families.
“One of the notes appeared to be an attempt at making a false threat in the hope of closing school,” Paulson wrote. “Based on the facts, information and timeline, the team was confident everyone was safe, and there was no need for initiating any lockdown or other safety protocols.”
This threat comes after the Nov. 30 Oxford High School shooting left four dead, seven injured, and a wave of copycat threats in its wake.
The news of the staff members arrest comes as numerous school across the country dealt with vague, anonymous shooting and bomb threats made on TikTok last week.
Despite TikTok saying they found no evidence of threats being made on their app and was working with law enforcement to look into any potential warnings, several schools were closed on Friday as precautions.
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Paulson said he is “extremely” disappointed in the staff member.
The school district takes any “potential disruption” seriously, he said, and is cooperating with the police.
Although the investigation is still ongoing, Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido told The Detroit News, part of the USA TODAY Network, that he has questions about the staff member’s motives. The arraignment will likely be Monday, he said.
“This doesn’t reflect on all teachers; it’s only one teacher — but don’t we have enough problems in schools right now?” Lucido said.
Lucido told The Detroit News that there’s enough evidence to charge the suspect with several crimes.
“Of course, she’s innocent until proven guilty, and all of this will come out in court. But this doesn’t help with everything that’s been going on recently,” he said. “If you’ve got teachers making threats, how safe do you think the parents are going to think that school is?”
The ripple of threats across the state has left students, families and school employees uneasy, but Paulson said they will continue to investigate any and all threats.
“Our schools stay safe when we work together,” he said. “Remember, see something — say something.”
Contributing: Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY
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