Detectives search phones, computers of teens after gun threat

BANGOR TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (1/30/2018) - Police and Bangor Township Schools administrators are combing through electronic devices to determine who posted a threat online that led to classes being canceled Tuesday.

A student being expelled from John Glenn High School posted something of concern on Facebook. In a different incident, two teenage boys got in some type of fight at the school.

Sometime after both of those incidents, a threat was made on an anonymous app. The person who made the threat said they were bringing a gun to the high school in a backpack on Tuesday.

The threat was discovered Monday afternoon or early evening. Without time to fully investigate, Superintendent Matt Schmidt decided to cancel classes for Tuesday.

"To err on the side of safety, nobody wants to take a chance with this and in lieu of what's happening in the world right now, you never know, you know which is and which isn't serious," Bay County Sheriff Troy Cunningham said on Tuesday.

He pointed out that authorities take any kind of threat, even perceived threats that may not be real, very seriously.

"It's just like yelling 'bomb' in an airport or something. When you're talking about taking a gun or a weapon or anything that could hurt someone into a school, it's very serious," Cunningham said.

Detectives with the Bay County Sheriff's Office were trying to figure out Tuesday if the teen boys involved in the fight or the teen boy who was being expelled had anything to do with the threat.

Authorities were poring over their computers and phones.

"I don't think they realize that stuff stays with a footprint that people can find," Cunningham said. "Whether it's people are screenshotting what they posting or just someone sees it, you know a lot of times it does come to, you know, law enforcement's attention."

He hopes to have answers from those electronic devices soon to figure out if the three teen boys mentioned are involved in the threat, or whether someone entirely different was responsible.

School will be in session Wednesday.

This is the second time in a week school leaders in Bay County have to make a quick decision after a possible threat.

In addition to the Bangor Township School threat, last week there was an incident involving Bay-Arenac High School which turned out to be nothing. The case was handled by the Essexville Public Safety Department.

"We have to be right 100% of the time. We can't afford to lose any child," said Tom Mynseberge, founder of Critical Incident Management.

His company works with several Mid-Michigan schools, including Bangor Township, to plan for threats.

"There was a time in the past where you might get a threat like this and it was just glossed over, we don't do that anymore," Mynseberge said.

Protocols are in place to help districts react to threats.

Students get training too, just as they do for fire drills.

"I don't think we're getting desensitized, I don't think we're getting apathetic, but I think we're getting to the point where we have this confidence level. I think parents are more comfortable, when I first started this 90% of the parents would come and run and take their kids out, now it's a very small percentage," Mynsberge said. "Kids are taking this knowledge with them in everyday life, and they can apply it with everyday life. They're going to be our responders in the future that actually have it down pat, they're going to be the ones to spring into action."

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