File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Novi High School reacts to 2 threatening messages on bathroom walls

Student suspended for 1 message, police still investigating the other

By: Charity Meier | Novi Note | Published November 8, 2022


NOVI — A Novi High School student has been suspended and faces possible charges for allegedly writing a threatening message on the bathroom wall at the school, according to Novi Police Cmdr. Jason Meier.   

Students and staff at the high school were forced to shelter in place Oct. 26 and again Oct. 31 after threatening messages were seen on the bathroom walls.

“This week our high school staff dealt with two threatening messages written on a bathroom stall,” Novi Community School District Superintendent Ben Mainka said in a prepared statement. “These incidents have increased in the area with multiple schools experiencing writing in bathrooms over the past week. The school takes these situations very seriously and has increased our police visibility and also provided more structure to our times where students can utilize the bathrooms and hallways. We are committed to student safety and continue to rely heavily on our partners in law enforcement and our consultants in school safety to make the most informed and research-based decisions to protect our kids.”

The first message was found at 11 a.m. Oct. 26. A student reported that there was a threatening message written on the bathroom wall to staff. Students and staff were then asked to shelter in place. This means that students and staff remained in the classrooms that they were in and did not move around the building.

During the sheltering in place, Novi police and Novi High School staff went through students’ backpacks to make sure there was nothing dangerous in the school. Nothing dangerous was found, according to Mainka, but the school decided to dismiss early at 1:45 p.m.

“Our teachers, support staff, administrators, students, and everyone involved today did a fantastic job acting quickly and jumping into action. Our partners at the Novi Police Department also did an excellent job providing support and guidance throughout the incident,” Mainka said in a message to district families.   

Mainka requested that parents and guardians speak with their students about making good choices, not making threatening comments, and also about reporting any suspicious behavior or activity to a trusted adult.

“Safety is our top priority, and we always err on the side of caution in these instances,” Mainka said.

Few details were available about the Oct. 31 incident, but in that case, police developed a student as a suspect. Meier said that police could not tie that suspect or anyone else to the first incident as of Nov. 8.

Meier said that police officers will be providing additional security at the school for the next few weeks. He said the student suspect did not have the capability to carry out the Oct. 31 threat.

According to Mainka, the student will be held legally accountable and the district will not show leniency for “individuals who make these types of poor decisions.”

Novi Schools are not alone in this matter. South Lyon Community Schools have seen three instances of these types of threats written on bathroom walls at the district’s high schools in recent weeks. One student has been suspended and is prohibited from leaving his home while he awaits his court date for allegedly writing a threatening message on a bathroom wall. Farmington Public Schools also discovered two threats, deemed not credible, written on a bathroom wall Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, and a social media post made by a student at another school threatening violence on Nov. 7 at Farmington High School.

“(The Novi student) did not give us any reason for (making a threat), and I am not sure why people are doing it all of a sudden, but I think with most things teens do, when one does it, it gets emulated and copied,” said Meier.

According to Mainka, staff are continuing to remind students about mental health supports and who they can talk to for support. Any unusual behavior or concerns can be reported anonymously through the Okay2Say portal at