Ann Arbor Public Schools will close Friday, Dec. 3 due to threats of violence made against the district on social media, AAPS Superintendent Jeanice Swift announced in an email to families Thursday night. A copy of this email was obtained by The Michigan Daily.
Swift wrote that the district received notice of numerous social media posts threatening potential violence and chose to close all schools “out of an abundance of caution.”
“While these posts have not been determined to be credible at this time, the volume is quite high,” Swift wrote in her Thursday night email. “Closing schools will allow school administrators and law enforcement an opportunity to investigate all reported concerns.”
Schools around southeast Michigan have been on high-alert Thursday following the deadly shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich. on Tuesday. Four Oxford High School students were killed after a 15-year old sophomore student opened fire Tuesday morning, injuring six other students and one teacher. The suspect, Ethan Crumbley, currently faces terrorism and first degree murder charges.
Following the shooting, over a dozen schools in the metro Detroit area closed on Thursday in response to possible threats on social media.
AAPS remained open on Thursday but expressed support for students and families who have decided to stay home due to concerns over threats to schools in the district over social media, according to emails from Swift and Huron High School Principal Ché Carter obtained by The Daily. Approximately half of students reportedly stayed home from Pioneer High School, according to the student news site The Pioneer Optimist.
Students at Dexter High School and Huron High School participated in walkouts on Thursday to advocate against gun violence. Other schools, including Pioneer High School, organized a “blue and gold day” to show support for the Oxford community.
Swift told the AAPS community in a Thursday morning email that the district would increase police presence in schools Thursday. In the afternoon, Swift sent another email to families, saying the district is working with the Ann Arbor Police Department, Washtenaw County Sheriff, the University of Michigan Division of Public Safety and Security, Michigan State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to monitor social media threats and ensure the safety of students and staff.
“We understand the very real pressure and fear that many students are feeling and know that our parents and staff are equally concerned,” Swift wrote in the Thursday afternoon email. “We also understand the priority of attending school every day when we can safely do so; we want our students learning in our AAPS classrooms. We remain committed to our relationship with local law enforcement, who take every report or rumor seriously and investigate immediately, so that we can safely convene school.”
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