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Officials expect many more charges for copycat school threats across Michigan

Posted at 5:59 AM, Dec 10, 2021

(WXYZ) — Plymouth and Canton schools are closed this morning after a tense day on Thursday with multiple schools across Wayne County encountering threats.

Three high schools with about 6,000 students combined were on lockdown for hours after a student reported seeing a weapon.

Police are investigating, and they searched all buildings, but they didn't find anything and students were eventually dismissed.

The lockdown lasted about five hours, and the district is switching to remote learning until students return from winter break on Jan. 3.

The dozens of copycat threats across metro Detroit are a cause for concern and law enforcement does not find them funny at all.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is not mincing words when it comes to school threats.

"This is serious. We will charge you because we have to," she said.

Her office has already charged 23 cases of school threats, and she said they're looking at many more.

All of the suspects in the cases are minors and have been charged with making threats against schools.

The most serious charges students could face include a false report of terrorism or death, a 20-year felony, or a false bomb threat, a 4-year felony.

Worthy said the surge in charges grows almost by the hour, adding her office is considering bringing 10 additional charges.

"I would not be surprised if we double the number next week," she said.

At Plymouth-Canton Education Park, anxiety levels were high for hours on Thursday. Parents standing, and some pacing, waiting to see their kids.

"My family members were trying to calm me down. They didn't want me to have a panic attack," Tikita Hatch said.

Social worker Kimberly Hinton said it's OK for parents to feel this way.

"You are not alone. There are other parents that are feeling like this and it's OK to be scared for your kids," she said.

Hinton said kids are also scared, and there are ways to tell if they aren't verbally saying it – from isolating themselves to becoming more quiet than usual.

"You may see some interruptions in their sleep pattern and you'll see that kids will lose their appetite," she said.