Teacher accused of bomb threat at Hazel Park Junior High

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published February 17, 2023

 Police recently scoured Hazel Park Junior High for explosives following a bomb threat.

Police recently scoured Hazel Park Junior High for explosives following a bomb threat.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


HAZEL PARK — For the third time in three months, a threat has caused a panic at Hazel Park Schools, and authorities believe a teacher is behind the latest scare.

The threatening note was discovered in a classroom at Hazel Park Junior High at the end of the school day on Feb. 2. The note said a bomb would be detonated the next day, Feb. 3. The letter was found in the classroom of teacher Paul Jacobs, 40, of Livonia.

Police originally thought that the teacher saw the note but failed to report it. However, police now believe that Jacobs placed the note there himself. He has been charged with making an intentional threat of an act of violence against a school, employees or students, a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in prison if convicted.

Jacobs was arraigned Feb. 4 in Hazel Park’s 43rd District Court. Magistrate Tanya Bowers set his bond at $10,000, which he paid. At press time, his pretrial hearing was scheduled for Feb. 28. Raymond Correll, the attorney for Jacobs, did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

The note was discovered by a different school employee, who alerted the administrative team and police. Investigators believe that Jacobs had planted the note in a bid to have classes canceled that day. Multiple K-9 units were deployed to the location to sniff for bombs and officers swept the building for danger, but found nothing.

Brian Buchholz, the police chief of Hazel Park, described the sequence of events.

“We don’t have evidence that (Jacobs) made the note. But we did gather information through the school’s surveillance video that led us to conclude that he was the one who planted the note,” Buchholz said. “He put the note on a desk, in a manner that it would be discovered by other students and staff. We see the suspect put the note there on the desk, just inside his classroom. We see a student pick it up at one point, then put it back on the desk. It falls off the desk, and as the class lets out that period, students are stepping over it or stepping on it. Then the teacher (Jacobs) comes out and sees it on the floor. He manipulates it again — this time with his foot, sliding it out into the hallway — and before returning to his classroom, he bends over and turns the paper over, so that the threat is face up and visible.”

The incident follows another case in January where a student from outside the district made multiple threatening calls to the front office, and an incident in December where a mother upset over her son being disciplined made a threat to blow up a building. Amy Kruppe, the superintendent of Hazel Park Schools, said this latest incident did not prompt a lockdown, since it was the end of the day and students were already leaving. But she said it was important to remain transparent and keep parents apprised of what’s happening.

“These threats and senseless shootings continue to happen across the country, and they continue to bring to the forefront how important it is to be safe and turn over things to authorities as soon as they happen, and really, the police have been fantastic in cooperating with the district,” Kruppe said. “We’re super proud of our relationship with both the cities of Hazel Park and Ferndale, the police there, and our staff for implementing the safety procedures we have in place. We also have a parent committee that people are welcome to join where we discuss safety and security issues, along with student learning in the Hazel Park Schools.”

The police chief said the recurring threats have been very upsetting for his department and the community at large.

“Regardless of whether (Jacobs) made the note or not, the fact he displayed it to incite terror and fear, expecting school to be canceled, is ridiculous — it really is,” Buchholz said. “If you want the day off, just call in sick. It is ridiculous to put an entire community in fear. School activities were canceled for the evening; we brought in K-9 dogs to search the building for explosives. And even when school returns, attendance is down after an incident like this. And as for us (the police), we will always treat every threat as though it’s real — and that takes a lot of effort.”