TAYLOR (WWJ/AP) – School officials became aware that a 12-year-old Downriver girl had taken a backpack to school filled with $20,000 in cash after she started giving away hundreds of dollars to friends.

The backpack was found Monday at Sixth Grade Academy in Taylor. According to Chief of Police Mary Sclabassi, the student apparently got the money from a child who lives near her.

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Police said they responded to the school, secured the backpack and retrieved the money that the girl had given away, including $100 bills. Sclabassi said the girl gave some students as much as $500 and that officials were concerned about her safety.

“Had word gotten out to maybe someone other than some other 12-year-olds, it could have put her in a dangerous position,” Sclabassi said.

Teresa D. Winnie, an assistant superintendent at the Taylor School District, said in a statement that there was no threat to the students at the school.

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“The situation … was truly an unusual one,” the statement said. “We do not have a specific protocol for this type of situation.”

The same might be said for police. Sclabassi, the police chief, said: “This is a real first for me.”

According to police, the girl’s neighbors claimed the money. Police aren’t identifying the student, her family or the neighbors. An investigation is ongoing.

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