Godwin Heights Schools find no threat to safety following social media post

Posted at 9:12 PM, Mar 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-08 22:32:43-05

WYOMING, Mich. -- After learning of a worrisome social media post, Godwin Heights school officials decided to hold class as usual on Thursday.

The post said, "Godwin students, if there's a lockdown tomorrow, take it seriously," according to Godwin Heights Superintendent William Fetterhoff.

Fetterhoff says he learned about the post around 8 p.m. Wednesday and immediately met with the Wyoming Department of Public Safety. He says the post likely originated on Snapchat or Facebook and was probably shared with 50 to 100 students by the time he saw it.

According to a press release by the Wyoming Department of Public Safety, investigators have not been able to determine its source.

Fetterhoff says he decided around 6:30 a.m. on Thursday that there was no credible threat but parents were not notified until after classes had started for the day.

A mother of two Godwin Heights students, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells FOX 17 she was upset when she learned what happened and immediately took her kids home.

“Well my heart stopped," the mother says. "I felt sick. I mean, I’m stuck at work and to know I sent my children off to school this morning with the possibility of, God forbid, something going wrong. I felt sick and there was nothing I could do.”

Fetterhoff says part of the investigation included interviewing individuals who may have been associated with the post.

“At that point in time, we decided that you know, while we were gonna take it seriously, this wasn’t a viable threat," Fetterhoff tells FOX 17.

Fetterhoff says there was an increased presence of safety officers at Godwin Heights schools on Thursday but couldn't give FOX 17 an exact number of how many officers were added.

The mother of the two students says when their grandmother picked them up from their schools, she didn't see any officers.

“I just feel that the schools should, they’re the ones that should take the extra precautions for things like this happening," the mother says.

She says she still hasn't decided if she'll send her kids to school on Friday.

“Am I an overreacting parent keeping them from their education? I don’t know. It’s a hard thing to decide," she says.

Fetterhoff says he understands that it's a difficult time to be a parent.

“If we look around nationally, in terms of the sentiment that’s been occurring and the threats, be them viable or not viable, the impact that it has on you know, the school community, the teachers, the parents, it’s huge," Fetterhoff tells FOX 17. "What’s even more harmful is the impact it’s had on students.”

Police are also investigating another incident involving threatening statements that happened on Wednesday after an altercation between two students, with one threatening to come back to the school. Officials found him at his home and determined those statements were made out of anger and the student had no intention of following through with the threats.

Fetterhoff encourages parents to talk with their children about having awareness for threatening situations and if they see something, say something to their parents, law enforcement or school staff.