Students evacuated after Twitter threat

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published February 13, 2014

St. Clair Shores Police are investigating a threat that led to the evacuation of South Lake High School Feb. 12.

South Lake Superintendent Pam Balint said two students reported reading a message on Twitter from someone not connected with the school or district, “that they were planting explosives at the high school,” Balint said the next day.

According to a letter posted on the district’s Facebook page, school administration addressed the situation and contacted St. Clair Shores Police and the police liaison officer, then determined at 1:30 p.m. to sweep the building and grounds.

Normally, Balint said, students would just be evacuated from the school temporarily while a sweep was conducted, but with the low temperatures and the time of day, it was decided to send students home instead. By the time the students would have been evacuated from the school and the sweep conducted, it would have been close to dismissal time anyway, she explained.

Students without immediate transportation were taken, with teachers, to South Lake Middle School to wait to be picked up.

A sweep by St. Clair Shores Police, administrators and Michigan State Police and a K-9 did not find any threat in the school.

“We take this very seriously and we will do whatever we need to do to cooperate with police in this instance,” Balint said.

St. Clair Shores Police said they are still investigating to find the person responsible for making the threatening message on Twitter.

“I was very pleased with everybody,” Balint said of the evacuation and investigation process.

She also spoke highly of the two students that reported the message.

“They actually saw it and they were concerned and I was so proud of them because, oftentimes, it’s students that keep their environment safe as well,” she said. “The early facts that we have received, it’s not a student, it’s actually someone who’s a post-high school age.”

She said the suspect is not believed to be a graduate of South Lake High School. School was back in session at the high school Feb. 13.

“We’re working very closely with the police,” Balint said.