Social media threats result in increased police patrols at DPS buildings

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Police increased their presence at Dearborn Public Schools buildings March 6 following social media threats to Edsel Ford High School, 20601 Rotunda Drive.

According to one of two letters from EFHS Principal Scott Casebolt on March 6, the school’s administrative team worked in partnership with police to identify the individual responsible for posting the comments on social media.

“As we originally determined the comments were not a credible threat to the school rather were made as a joke and shared with specific people,” Casebolt said. “Although the intentions of the individual may not have been done with malice, the messages sent were threatening in nature creating a situation that was disruptive and incited fear in our community. For these reasons swift and appropriate disciplinary action has been taken both from the district and police.”

Casebolt added that on the evening of March 5, the administration was informed about the social media post threatening the safety of the school on the morning of March 6 and immediately contacted police.

“Once again we have experienced the negative impact that spreading rumors or making threats on social media can have on the entire community,” Casebolt said in one of the two letters. “I do want to thank the students who reported this information to our staff and assisted in our investigation efforts. I would also like to thank the entire Dearborn Police, Chief (Ronald) Haddad, and the Edsel staff for coming together to resolve this issue and ensure the safety of Edsel Ford High School.”

In the letters, Casebolt also thanked the school resource officer and administrative team for ensuring the school was safe and brining closure to the incident.

“I also want to thank the students who reported this information to our staff and assisted in our investigation efforts,” he said. “These students demonstrated civic responsibility and the important role it plays in keeping our community safe.”

Haddad told the Detroit News that the alleged threats began on Snapchat and moved to Facebook, and that three minors possibly were involved.

“It started out basically saying, ‘I’m going to get you. I’m going to do something to you,’ and someone else added the word ‘shooting’ in there,” Haddad said. “The danger with one of these is that other people see it. You never know who else might be inspired or motivated by these postings, and that’s the real threat.”

Casebolt addressed the ongoing issues with the improper use of social media and said working together with parents can ensure that EFHS remains a great place for children to attend.

“School staff, parents, and community members are frustrated and concerned by this ongoing problem with young people making critical errors in judgment and inappropriately using social media,” Casebolt wrote in one of two letters.

“The repercussions for making these types of comments can be life changing and have ramifications for years to come. Please use this incident as an opportunity to talk to your child about the proper way to use social media, email, and texting.”

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)