Threats, safety fears after Oxford shooting close southeast Michigan schools Friday

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Days after a deadly mass shooting in Oxford, unease and potential threats of violence have school districts across southeast Michigan closed Friday. 

More than 30 public school districts and dozens of charter and private schools issued statements or social media posts Thursday announcing the decision. Some were shuttering buildings for a second consecutive day.

In a Facebook video, Huron Valley Schools Superintendent Paul Salah noted his district's closures Thursday followed non-specific threats made late Wednesday to a high school and to middle schools. 

"After meeting with our local law enforcement agencies this morning, I felt it was prudent to give them the time they need to implement their tools, their skills, their strategies and their resources to track down and hold accountable any individual that is haphazardly creating fear and chaos," he said.

Some other districts, like Fenton Area Public Schools, decided to close Friday after remaining open on Thursday. 

"This decision is based not only on the anxiety and fear felt among our families, but it is also due to the fact that our staff was overwhelmed with the number of phone calls, emails, and students being signed out during the school day," Fenton school officials announced on Facebook. "After today, we know that tomorrow will not be a successful learning day, and giving our staff and our families time to regroup and recover is the best action to take at this time."

Lapeer Community Schools issued a statement Thursday signed by Superintendent Matt Wandrie, Lapeer County Sheriff Scott McKenna and Lapeer Police Chief David Frisch noting a flurry of rumors and social media postings related to the Oxford tragedy.

" In addition, a substantial number of parents are opting to keep their students out of school during this time," they wrote. "Because of these factors, we have decided to cancel school for students on Friday

"Our administrative team will report to work Friday in order to review and refresh our existing safety and security procedures in preparation for the return of all students on Monday."

Public school districts scheduled to close Friday include:

  • Ann Arbor Public Schools  
  • Armada Area Schools 
  • Avondale School District
  • Berkley School District
  • Birmingham Public Schools
  • Bloomfield Hills Schools 
  • Capac Community Schools 
  • Clarenceville School District
  • Clarkston Community Schools
  • Clawson Public Schools
  • Farmington Public Schools 
  • Fitzgerald Public Schools
  • Flint Community Schools 
  • Goodrich Area Schools
  • Hazel Park Schools 
  • Lake Fenton Community Schools
  • Lake Orion Community Schools 
  • Lamphere Public Schools
  • Lincoln Consolidated Schools
  • Linden Community Schools
  • Livonia Public Schools 
  • Memphis Community Schools
  • Northville Public Schools
  • Novi Community School District 
  • Pontiac School District 
  • Richmond Community Schools 
  • Rochester Community Schools
  • Troy School District
  • Walled Lake Consolidated Schools 
  • Waterford School District 
  • Wayne-Westland Community Schools
  • West Bloomfield School District

Many administrators urged students to report information to the state's OK2SAY tip line.

South Lake Schools in Macomb County was open Thursday, but a bomb threat prompted the evacuation of South Lake High School in St. Clair Shores.

Police officers and school personnel stand with students along Cavalier Dr. as they wait to leave South Lake High School, Thursday afternoon, Dec. 2, 2021. St. Clair Shores officers and others secured the school during an investigation into a bomb threat at the high school.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald and other authorities spoke Thursday about the rising threats.

"A false threat of terrorism is a felony, it’s a 20-year felony. We will charge it and we will hold people accountable," McDonald said.