Birmingham police investigate threat at Derby Middle School

By: Brendan Losinski, Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published March 1, 2018 | Updated March 2, 2018 10:32am

Birmingham police officers increased their presence at Derby Middle School March 1 after a reported threat was made to the school.

The threat was made online and was reported to school officials the day it was made. The message stated that someone had a gun and was going to attack the school.

“(The person who made the threat) was in a chat room that’s set up as part of the school’s math program,” explained Superintendant Daniel Nerad. “There was a single statement that was made on Feb. 28. A family and student became aware of it and reported it to us that evening.”

District staff quickly began working with the Birmingham Police Department to investigate the threat. Nerad went on to say that it appears that the account on which the threat was made was that of a Derby student and had been hacked by an unknown individual.

“The student whose account was hacked notified the police, and they notified us,” he added. “The investigation continues and is ongoing and at this point. ... We have not been able to identify who did this.”

Nerad said both police and school officials made all necessary precautions to avert any incident. He said no additional signs of a threat were observed but that police are taking all necessary precautions.

“We take any threat extremely seriously to ensure we prevent any hard to our students,” said Nerad. “Each one of these situations, whether they happen here or in other communities, prove to be very unsettling, and this type of conduct is totally unacceptable. Especially in this time of heightened anxiety, sending messages like this is only making people more uncomfortable. In one way or another, messages like this are a cry for help. We want students to know if they need help there are better ways to seek it, and we want to make sure we’re helping people.”

Nerad said the police have been extremely helpful and very devoted to erring on the side of safety.

“We usually like to direct people to the schools when something like this happens, but we were over there today (March 1) investigating a threat of a shooter,” said Cmdr. Scott Grewe of Birmingham Police Department. “The school resource officer has been over there most of the day investigating what took place, and I’ve been in conversations on and off with the school. We’re trying to determine where it came from and what’s the identity of a possible suspect.”
The Birmingham Police Department was present at school March 1 as a preventative measure.

“We had officers there today and we’ll have officers there again tomorrow (March 2),” Grewe added when asked if it was safe for students to attend class.