By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) put out a statement on Tuesday, Dec. 14 addressing copycat threats made in the wake of the Nov. 30 shooting.
“These threats are often coming from other students who may think it’s funny or a clever way to get out of class,” Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in the statement. “This is not a joke or a harmless prank. No one thinks this is funny. We take this seriously. If you choose such a foolish path and make such a threat, understand that you will be caught and you will be punished. This is not a game.”
The OCSO says detectives are working on threats forwarded to eight of its substations including Oxford, Orion and Brandon Townships. Petitions have been sought against eight students and “dozens more” are under investigation. One such student, a 15 year-old Lake Orion High School (LOHS) attendee, was arrested for making a terrorist threat after saying he would commit a shooting at LOHS. So far all fully-investigated reports in Oakland County are unfounded, according to the statement.
Other copycats and false alarms have triggered serious response throughout southeast Michigan, with Waterford police investigating at least three threats and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charging 18 students for threats as of Dec. 9. A threat made against Oxford Middle School led to class being suspended on Tuesday Dec. 14 and later for the remainder of 2021.
Bouchard encourages parents to speak candidly with their children about the shooting to help process the tragic event and reduce anxiety, as well as about how to share information about potential threats and the ramifications of making threats.
The Okay2Say confidential statewide tip line is open 24/7 and can be reached by either calling 855-565-2729, texting 652729, emailing OK2SAY@mi.gov and through the free Okay2Say iOS and Android apps.
Community members with information regarding the Nov. 30 shooting are encouraged to call the OCSO dispatch center at 248-858-4911.