HOLT, Mich. (WWJ) – Some parents in Ingham County are keeping their children home from school following a threat of violence at Holt Jr. High.
No one has been hurt, but there is an increased police presence at the school on Tuesday as a result of the incident, according to school officials.
At the heart of the situation is an alarming Instagram photo of a child holding a military-style assault rifle. The photo (seen at left) along with some threatening messages were seen by Holt Jr. High students and have been passed around on social media.
“I got that shooter (expletive),” one message reads, followed by: “Got those swords.” It’s unclear at this time when exactly these messages were posted.
Ingham County Sheriff’s Lt. Dennis Hull said investigators have seen the photo and the messages, and have had “meetings and communications with everyone involved” in this case.
He said the reason for the increased police presence at the school is simply to assure everyone’s safety.
“I can confirm that we are investigating a threat compliant at that school that involved two students, once against the other — and they’re both juveniles,” Hull told WWJ Newsradio 950, adding neither of those two students was in school this morning.
Asked if there are concerns about this student’s access to firearms, as seen in the Instagram photo, Hull said: “The photo is out there and it speaks for itself….(People) have seen the photo, but there’s more to the story.” He would not elaborate.
Details about the threat have not been released.
In a Facebook post on the Holt Junior High page Monday night, Holt Public Schools Superintendent David Hornak, saying the situation is being dealt with:
I am writing to share that in coordination with the police, we actively investigated the reported social media concern as soon as we became aware of it. Since we are dealing with minors, we are not able to share the results of our investigation with you, but I can share that this concern has been mitigated. With that, I plan to join the increased police presence at the Holt Junior High tomorrow.”
Responding to the superintendent’s post, parent, Jenny Tice wrote: “From what I understand this is not the first time the boy has threatened the school safety. Keeping my daughter home today, and possibly more days, until the right action has been taken. Expulsion and counseling.”
“You can’t threaten to shoot a kid at school and be allowed to come back,” another parent, the mother of a 12-year-old Holt Jr. High student told WWJ. “That alone should have kept him from school,” she said of the photo.
Some parents complained that they’d received no letter home and, apart from the brief Facebook post, no information from the school regarding the incident. Early Tuesday evening, a message was sent by Principal Marshall Perkins to parents via email. [Read it here]. A short time later, the superintendent released a lengthier statement, also emailed to parents. [Read it here].
Hull said that while he can’t speak to how school officials are handing the incident, as far as law enforcement: “We take these threats very, very seriously as we have since the moment we got (the information).”
Hull said investigators will be requesting charges connection with this incident, although he could not released any details about those charges at this time. In the meantime he’d like parents to know, “The safety of a child in this community is the utmost.”
An investigation is ongoing.