‘We take that very seriously’: Officials warn school threats come with severe consequences

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VERMONTVILLE , Mich. (WLNS)- In the aftermath of the Oxford school shooting, more online threats are forcing districts to close buildings and increase security.

At Maple Valley Schools in Eaton County, there have been two separate threats in two days, forcing students to be dismissed early one day, and leading to an arrest the next.

The first incident was Monday, when a student told administrators about a gun-violence threat.

Then Tuesday, the Eaton County sheriff’s office responded to the school, again. They left with a 13-year-old boy accused of making threats on social media.

As of Wednesday, officials say the message is clear.

“When we make threats that cause people to feel panic or fear or even disease in any way, that’s not okay and it’s not funny and not appropriate,” said Maple Valley Superintendent Katherine Bertolini

Bertolini spent part of her afternoon on a Zoom call with 6 News, emphasizing the district’s zero tolerance policy.

“It’s a very serious violation in our school code for a reason,” she said. “We’re not going to tolerate or allow threats of violence against our students, and we take that very seriously.”

The Maple Valley Superintendent wouldn’t discuss specific cases this week after two threats were made against the junior/senior high school.

But in a letter, she pledged to support any charges that the Eaton county prosecutor files against the 13-year-old.

“Our courts are our law,” Bertolini said. “So, I leave it to the courts to make those determinations for how the legal consequences will unfold.”

Maple Valley is far from the only school dealing with this.

In Owosso, a former student was accused of making specific threats against the school last Friday. It was reported to Okay-2-Say and the suspect was arrested.

Wednesday in Rochester, a threat was written in the bathroom at Stoney Creek High School. Officials investigated, and determined it was not a credible threat.

Still, officials are trying to find a balance between making sure students know the consequences for these actions, while still showing them they are here to offer support.

“We need to remember that kids need us to show them how to think and feel and process a lot of this stuff,” Bertolini said. “If students are afraid, they need to seek out help from a caring adult in their world to know they’re going to be okay and that’s my message to our children.”

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