By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – The Melvindale – Northern Allen Park School district reopened Sept. 19, after a three-day shutdown, following the arrest of a juvenile suspect who allegedly made school shooting threats on social media.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced Sept. 19 that a 12-year-old boy from Melvindale, whose name was not released, was charged as a juvenile with threatening to commit an act of violence against a school, employees or students, and with malicious use of a communication device.
A pre-trial hearing will be held Sept. 27 before Referee Sean Kerman at the Juvenile Detention Facility in Detroit.
Worthy sent a letter Sept. 12 to all parents and guardians in Wayne County, urging them to talk to their children about the consequences of making threats of school violence. She said students often seem shocked at the serious consequences, and say “they were just joking.”
“Michigan law makes it a crime to make the threat, even if the person did not have the intent or capability of actually carrying it out,” Worthy said.
Melvindale Police Lt. Dan Jones said after the Wednesday night city council meeting that the arrest came about as a concerted effort between the Police Department and FBI. He said about eight to 12 FBI agents assisted with the investigation.
Jones said student safety is always the department’s first consideration.
“You have to understand the seriousness of stuff you are putting on social media,” Jones said. “The penalties are severe for posting this kind of stuff.”
A threat was made the night of Sept. 13 on social media, on an anonymous third-party app, against Strong Middle School, and later a threat was made against the high school as well.
Melvindale police officials noted on the department’s Facebook page that law enforcement officials worked with the third-party app supplier to determine the device from which the threat was made. The Melvindale Police Facebook page also said police officers will be assigned to each school, and officers would be patrolling school grounds.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])