Police: Alpena, 4 Detroit schools threatened

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

University Preparatory Academy's middle and high school in Detroit both have a beefed up police presence Tuesday after the UPrep system learned of threats made against it via social media.

The school learned of the threats, which were posted anonymously, after being informed of them by students at about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Mark Ornstein, CEO of the U Prep system. 

The school notified the Detroit Police Department of the threat, Ornstein said, but has decided to continue with class on Tuesday.

While Ornstein did not recall the name of the social media platform the threat came from, he said its language was "almost identical" to a threat pointed Monday at Western International High School, which according to media accounts said: "I'm gonna shoot up Western, don't come to school on Tuesday unless you want your brains on a dry erase board."

There are about 1,000 students between the two schools, Ornstein said. 

James Craig, Detroit police chief, said there have been four separate threats to Detroit schools during the past 24 hours, which he said is part of an increase in such incidents since the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

The threats were made at the Detroit School of Arts on Selden as well as the two threats to the University of Prep Academy, and Western High School.

“We take these threats seriously, and it needs to end,” Craig said. “Since (the shooting at) Parkland, we’ve seen an increase in these threats. It’s ridiculous, it’s cowardly, and we will do anything we can to identify those responsible.”

Alpena Public Schools officials said the district is also dealing with a threat Tuesday. Alpena is located about 250 miles north of Detroit in northern Michigan.

A written bomb threat was discovered in a girl's bathroom stall at Thunder Bay Junior High School at about 12:40 p.m., according to the district.

After consulting police, officials evacuated the school and students were escorted to Alpena High School where they will be dismissed at their normal time.

Authorities are searching the building and a Michigan State Police bomb-detecting dog will be brought in to conduct a sweep.

School officials said they plan to resume school at the building as normal, but all after-school events at Thunder Bay Junior High have been canceled.

Staff writers George Hunter and Charles E. Ramirez contributed