Class to resume after Snapchat message prompts closure of Sagina - WNEM TV 5

Class to resume after Snapchat message prompts closure of Saginaw Township schools

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Provided by Chief Pussehl Provided by Chief Pussehl
SAGINAW TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

Another Mid-Michigan school district was disrupted by a potential threat on social media.

Students and staff at Saginaw Township Community Schools were told to stay home Monday, Feb. 26. The district posted a message about the threat on its website.

All STCS schools are closed on Monday February 26th, due to a threat circulating on Social Media. The Saginaw Township Police Department and school administration time are investigating.  As always, the safety of our students and staff is our first priority.

All Child Care is closed

Staff need not report.

Information on scheduled Parent Conferences will be sent out in the morning.

Please watch this site for updates.

Saginaw Township Police Department Chief Don Pussehl said the department's Facebook page started receiving posts from concerned citizens about 10 p.m. on Sunday about a Snapchat message being circulated about a "boy with orange hair" who was going to come to "Heritage" and "shoot up the school." 

An internet crimes detective was assigned to the case Monday.

"We take every threat seriously," Pussehl said. "My officer worked on it throughout the night last night. I've got detectives working on it this morning and trying to determine who may have sent that message to local students here."

Pussehl said if they find the person responsible for the post they will seek full prosecution. 

"It's not a joke to send a threat about harm coming to students at a school," he said.

Pussehl said at this point it's unclear which Heritage High was mentioned in the threat. There are at least 12 Heritage High Schools across the country and it's unclear if the threat was generated locally or somewhere else across the country.

Saginaw Township Schools Superintendent Douglas Trombley said he decided to cancel school as a precautionary measure while it is being investigated. He said the safety of students and staff is their first priority.

Pussehl said he hasn't developed any credible information that someone would want to do harm to students.

"The message does appear to be cut and pasted. And so it could be a generic message that is going around different school districts and different states. Detectives are still working on that to try to determine where it originated from," Pussehl said.

Saginaw Township Schools posted an updated schedule of events for Monday night:

  • Elementary & Heritage Parent Conferences - now scheduled for Tuesday the 27th and Monday, March 5th
  • Heritage Hockey at Bay City - On as Scheduled - 7:00 PM
  • Heritage Girls Basketball at Midland - On as Scheduled - 7:00 PM
  • Heritage Hawkbots BWW Fundraiser - On as Scheduled
  • Drivers Ed Segment 2 - Canceled, now scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
  • Community Education Classes - TBD
  • Board of Education Meeting - On as Scheduled - 7:00 PM

Classes will resume Tuesday, Feb. 27.

The district posted a message on its website that said police were unable to substantiate any threat.

"The only posts made were “second-hand” knowledge of a supposed threat. They will continue to work in conjunction with the Michigan State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine the threat’s origination," the post said.

The post went on to say the Saginaw Township Police Department will have a greater presence at Heritage High School this week to help alleviate concern.

Parents react

"I was sleeping. I got the call at midnight and answered it and it kind of sent me in a fright right away. I was just scared," said Jennifer St. Cin, parent.

She is like a lot of parents who got the disturbing message on their phones about school being canceled due to a threat on social media.

"There's so much of that going around right now. It really worries you," St. Cin said.

Fefe Green has family who attend class in the district.

It's bad. You can't even go to school these days," Green said.

While Green is glad the school district played it safe, she is disappointed these threats keep popping up.

"They are making these children miss school. They are scaring them. And when they find out who did this, they should really put the law down on them harder than what it is," Green said.

Sierra Howard has a younger brother who attends Saginaw Heritage High School.

"I'm glad they closed the schools because that at least helps the children not be in danger," Howard said.

However, she is still concerned.

"It's just really messed up to me really and I hope it stops in the future," Howard said.

With the Valentine's Day massacre in Parkland, Florida still fresh on the minds of many, St. Cin knows these threats put schools everywhere in a tough spot.

"I don't know what the problem is. I mean, there's just so much hate in the world right now," she said.

Gun control becomes topic at board meeting

"More guns equals more dead people," one person said at Monday night's Saginaw Township school board meeting.

"Maybe the access points need to be a little stronger. Our government offices do that. Our courthouses do that, but not our schools," another person said.

The Moms Demand Action group even gave the board a resolution to sign.

"We're asking them to sign in opposition to it and oppose the Senate bills calling for more guns," one member of the group said.

She said she doesn't want guns in the hands of anyone but officers.

On the other hand, some feel the opposite. They don't want to arm officers, but arm employees.

"Anybody who works for the school, let them be armed. Let them be the first responders for our kids," one person said.

Saginaw Township Schools Superintendent Doug Trombley said he and the board are listening to suggestions.

"This has been a stressful time not only for schools, but society in general. Students are our treasures. We take that very seriously as a school district and we do everything we can to protect them," Trombley said.

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