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Vista Charter Academy closed Thursday after threat of violence

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Posted at 8:23 AM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 08:26:46-05

WYOMING, Mich. — Students at Vista Charter Academy, 711 32nd Street in Wyoming will not be in class Thursday.

A spokesperson for the academy says the school received a threat of violence on Wednesday and chose to cancel classes.

In a letter to parents, the principal Kristen Hekkema says the school was placed on lock down on Wednesday while the Wyoming Department of Public Safety conducted an investigation.

"After receiving a threat of violence against the school, we followed our standard protocols and began an investigation. In today’s day and age, you have to take all threats seriously – and we do. Out of an abundance of caution, school officials decided to cancel classes for today. The safety and security of our school community is always one of our top priorities," said spokesperson for National Heritage Academies Leah Nixon.

No word on if classes will resume Friday.

The school says it is thankful to the students who alerted them to the situation so it could be properly handled.

Below is the letter sent home on Wednesday by the school:

Dear Vista Charter Academy Families:

I am writing as a follow up to the School Messenger you received earlier today. I want to thank you for your patience and understanding as school leaders worked to investigate the situation with attentive care. As you know, the school was placed under a preventive lockdown.

In addition to an investigation by school leadership, the Wyoming Police Department also conducted their own investigation of the situation. Student privacy rights prevent me from sharing further details. Please know, we take the concerns of our school community very seriously, and as a precaution, school leaders made the decision to close school tomorrow, Thursday, March 5, 2020 and will keep you updated regarding plans for Friday, March 6.

I also wanted to share that because your child may have witnessed the presence of law enforcement in our building today, they may want to discuss it with you this evening. There are key ways you can support your child during such discussions. If you feel that your child has been affected by this situation, you can help by:

  • Taking time to listen and talk with them about what happened.
  • Reassuring them that you are available to listen to their concerns.
  • Remaining patient throughout the conversation.
  • I want to thank the students who alerted us of this situation so it could be properly handled. We take situations like this very seriously and continue to actively encourage students to practice “hear something, see something, say something.” We all want the best for Vista Charter Academy and, together, we will work to ensure the safety of our school.

The top priority at Vista Charter Academy is providing a safe and secure learning environment for our students, staff, and families. Thank you for your continued support of Vista Charter Academy. If you have questions, please call the school office at (616) 246-6920.

Sincerely,

Kristen Hekkema

Principal