Michigan officials on alert amid possible threat against schools nationwide

Detroit News staff and wire reports

Michigan authorities are on alert after a report of a threat against schools nationwide circulating online declaring Friday as "American School Shooting Day."

Educators announced plans to increase security in response to TikTok posts warning of shooting and bomb threats at schools around the country Friday.

Officials assured parents the viral posts were not considered credible.

Social media threats have many educators, students, staff and parents on edge as they have circulated in the aftermath of the deadly school shooting at Oxford High, which has been followed by numerous copycat threats to schools elsewhere.

Oxford school officials said Monday they do not expect any formal classes to resume until after the holiday break which ends on Jan. 2. The school has been closed since the fatal shooting on Nov. 30.

In addition to Michigan, school officials in states including Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York and Pennsylvania said Thursday there would be an increased police presence because of the threats. 

The vague, anonymous posts circulating online warned that multiple schools would receive shooting and bomb threats.

In a statement on Twitter, TikTok said it was working with law enforcement to investigate.

“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness,” the statement said, “which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok.”

Michigan State Police said Thursday they were "unaware of any credible threats."

The agency asked those who learned of a school safety threat to report it to the state's Ok2Say tip program. 

In a statement Thursday, the Grosse Pointe Public School System said district officials were "aware of a vague, national social media based threat that identifies the possibility of violence at schools tomorrow, Friday, December 17th.  While we have no reason to believe that this is related to GPPSS in any way, we did contact our local public safety departments to make them aware. Our local public safety departments will have an increased presence at our buildings tomorrow."

Monroe County Sheriff Troy Goodnough said his office had not received any specific threats targeting local school districts and "has not acquired any evidence that would deem these threats as credible in our area."

However, on Friday, "deputy sheriffs and additional law enforcement resources will be available at each school district to provide added security patrols," a statement said.

Parents wait outside Canton High School on Dec. 9 after a lockdown was put in place after a student reported to a security officer that they witnessed another student with a weapon.

Districts across the state have faced numerous threats in the weeks after the Nov. 30 shooting in Oxford that left four students and seven other people injured.

Some have led to consequences. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy on Wednesday announced six more students had been charged in connection with alleged threats of violence against schools in Michigan's largest county, bringing the number of youths charged to more than 30.

Arrests and charges involving school threats have been reported in communities such as Grosse Pointe Woods, Lake Orion, Harper Woods, Bloomfield Township and Waterford Township.

Some districts have closed as a precaution.

West Bloomfield Schools announced Monday it would go virtual for the rest of the week following a social media threat. Garden City followed after a threat Wednesday.

A day after Oxford Community Schools opted to close its elementary and middle schools following a social media threat, the district on Tuesday announced classes would not resume this week.