LAINGSBURG, Mich. (WLNS) — Keeping your child safe is something all parents prioritize. But sometimes, the community can take it too far, especially when it comes to social media. It’s been a problem for Laingsburg the past few days and it has parents afraid to send their kids to school.
Now, school officials are saying that posting everything you hear can hurt more than it helps.
Social media sites like Facebook or Snapchat are great tools for spreading information quickly, but, when that information is not correct it can lead to hysteria. And for Devon Perez, a freshman at Laingsburg High School it led to an unwanted spotlight.
“I hear all these stories about people saying I’m bringing a gun to school and stuff,” Perez said. “I’m like what where is this coming from?”
A photo of a firearm shared between the Laingsburg freshman and another student would prove problematic. The photo not related to school, spread like wildfire through Laingsburg High – and quickly found its way to the Laingsburg community Facebook page.
Parents say that’s what Led to a visit by Michigan State Police, this past Sunday.
“Someone had called I guess and made a complaint that there’s a threat to the school that there is going to be a shooting tomorrow, and that my son’s name was mentioned,” said Jeremy Perez, Devon’s dad.
A false narrative had formed online, that both 14-year-old Perez and another student were making threats to the high school and that last week, a student was suspended for having a gun in his backpack.
School officials say this was all just misinformation.
“We never had a student on campus with a gun in a backpack,” said Matt Shastal, Laingsburg superintendent. “I received numerous emails from parents asking me to clarify questions that they had seen on a Facebook community page.”
The superintendent also told 6 News that they were contacted a week ago through “OK-2-say” about a self-harm situation with Perez.
“How it went from a self-harm situation to the escalation we received Sunday night, we still don’t know,” Shastal said.
Despite a clarifying email from the superintendent on Sunday night, stating there was “no threat”, many parents kept their kids home from school.
“I hear all this on social media about these parents telling me I should go to jail and I should get arrested and stuff,” Perez said. “Right now I don’t want to go back to Laingsburg for good or bad, because I don’t want people looking at me, thinking in their minds, ‘oh, man he might shoot up the school’ or like just people thinking bad stuff about me.”
Superintendent Shastal wants to remind the community that parents who have future questions or concerns can contact the superintendent directly, or use the “OK-2-say” resource available on their website.