A 13-year-old Rochester High School student has been suspended after, sheriff’s officials say, she threatened to “shoot up the school” while in class.
Deputies from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office’s Rochester Hills substation said a fellow student reported the incident Oct. 9 to the school’s resource deputy, who then received additional confirmation from several other students regarding the incident.
“She was upset about something and basically said she was going to shoot up the school,” said Capt. Mike Johnson of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. “Of course, those are words that you just can’t say nowadays.”
Students also told the school resource deputy that the teen had texted suicidal messages over the weekend, according to reports.
Johnson said the student, with her mother present, was interviewed by the school resource deputy and Rochester High School Vice Principal Casey Wescott. Deputies said the student’s mother was cooperative with the investigation and consented to a search of the home.
Johnson said neither the student nor her mother owns any firearms or has access to firearms.
“Is it a credible threat? Absolutely not. She doesn't have any weapons, her family doesn’t have any weapons, but when something like this happens, we have to do our due diligence,” he said.
Detectives are continuing their investigation and will send a juvenile petition to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office for possible criminal charges.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said the charges associated with making threats, whether with malicious intentions or in jest, are extremely serious and, depending on the circumstances, can lead up to a charge of making terroristic threats — a 20-year felony.
Rochester Community Schools suspended the student.
Administrators from the district alerted district parents of the situation in an email the afternoon of Oct. 9.
“This afternoon, we received reports of threats made at two schools within the district. Upon receiving the information, school administrators, in coordination with our police liaison officers, immediately initiated an investigation,” Superintendent Robert Shaner said in the email.
District administrators encouraged all parents and guardians to be sure their students are aware that making threats of violence can have serious consequences.
“We also encourage students to talk to a trusted adult if they see or hear something that doesn't seem right,” Shaner said in the email.
Shaner said all members of the school community should experience an environment where they feel safe, valued and respected.
“As such, the Rochester Community School District will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone associated with school violence, threats of school violence, or the malicious destruction of school property,” Shaner said in a statement. “The safety of our students and staff is always our priority.”
Johnson said the second reported “threat” the district referred to in the email was a physical altercation between two junior high students.
“It was just a disagreement between two kids … and it escalated,” Johnson said. “They both got suspended and we are going to do a juvenile petition. It ended up being a minor assault.”
Anonymous reports can be made using the OK2SAY program at www.michigan.gov/ok2say.
Call Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at (586) 498-1060.