WCS social media threat deemed not credible

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published December 3, 2021

 The Warren Consolidated Schools district, including Sterling Heights High School, pictured, was closed Dec. 2 after school officials received information about a social media threat that made reference to several schools in the district.

The Warren Consolidated Schools district, including Sterling Heights High School, pictured, was closed Dec. 2 after school officials received information about a social media threat that made reference to several schools in the district.

File photo by Erin Sanchez

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WARREN/STERLING HEIGHTS — Two days after the tragic shooting at Oxford High School, Warren Consolidated Schools was closed Dec. 2 after school officials received information about a social media threat that made reference to several schools in the district.

At approximately 11 p.m. Dec. 1, WCS Superintendent Robert Livernois sent a call to parents informing them school would be closed Dec. 2. The day was treated like a snow day.

In a follow-up letter sent to parents Dec. 2, Livernois explained that on Wednesday school officials had received “a flood of texts, emails and phone calls” about a possible threat. School was canceled “out of an abundance of caution.” The letter did not disclose which schools were possible targets.

On Dec. 2, the district’s Security & Crisis Management Team, with the Warren and Sterling Heights police departments and the FBI, conducted an investigation and found no credible threat to any school in the district.

“In fact, this panic was caused by people spreading misinformation,” the letter states.

School was set to resume Dec. 3 with increased police presence in and around the schools. Livernois encouraged parents to speak to their children about what they should do if they receive a threat on social media or through a text message. He said that instead of forwarding the message to their friends, they need to report it to a parent, school staff member or the police.

“If they do share, repost or text these threats to their friends, they actually become part of the problem because they are spreading misinformation, which travels so fast on social media and delays law enforcement’s ability to investigate,” Livernois said.

Attempts to reach school officials for further comment on the matter was unsuccessful by press time.

On Dec. 2, Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido issued a press release stating his office has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to issuing terroristic threats against schools. Anyone caught doing so will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Under Michigan law, anyone reporting a false threat can spend up to 20 years in prison, face a $20,000 fine, or both if convicted.

“My office will work with the Macomb County Sheriff and the local law enforcement to charge those responsible for any threats and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law,” Lucido said in the press release. “The education of our children in an environment where they remain safe must be the top priority of law enforcement. Any criminal activity that disrupts that, will not be tolerated in Macomb County and will be prosecuted, period.”

In the aftermath of the shooting, one local company is holding a fundraiser to assist the families impacted by the tragedy. In a partnership with Oxford Community Schools, Genisys Credit Union is accepting monetary donations. To donate to Oxford Strong, visit any of the 28 Genisys branch locations in Michigan. Locations can be found at www.genisyscu.org/locations. Checks can be made payable to Genisys Credit Union — Oxford Strong.

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