Superintendent Dori Leyko has released additional information regarding the closure of East Lansing Public Schools today (March 8), a closure made because of a concerning text message.
In an email to ELPS families, staff and students, Leyko said that, around 6 a.m. this morning, a handful of ELPS administrators and a few ELHS staff saw an email from an individual in Texas “alerting us to a post made on Snapchat around midnight Tuesday.
“The post was of a gun and a message that said, ‘east lansing better be ready, just got this shit delivered today,’” according to Leyko.
Leyko said the post was made by an unknown individual who has a username with initials of a local group “connected to gang activity.”
“The email was sent by an individual who says she is in Texas and wanted to make us aware of the post,” Leyko wrote. “Upon closer review of the screenshot, we noticed the same photo of a gun with a different caption that read, ‘everyone dying at east lansing tomorrow.’”
ELHS Acting Principal Ashley Schwarzbek and Leyko also both received an email with a timestamp of 1:40 a.m. from an ELHS student notifying the district of the threatening post.
“I communicated with ELPD shortly after 6 a.m. and made the decision to cancel school to allow time for an investigation,” Leyko wrote.
She said the district will make a decision and communicate by noon regarding after-school and evening activities scheduled to be onsite. The varsity basketball game at St. Johns High School will be played as scheduled.
“We will provide additional information through our various district communication channels by noon,” Leyko wrote. “We need your support and ask that you rely on communications from our school system.
“The health, safety and well-being of our students and staff are our highest priority.”
ELPD is currently investigating these posts. Anyone with additional information is asked to reach out to ELPD, Leyko or to a high school administrator. Information can also be submitted to OK2Say, a confidential app for reporting threats to student safety and school personnel.
UPDATE, 12:25 pm: Leyko sent out the following update:
“We remain in communication with the East Lansing Police Department, following a Nixle alert sent out at 10:52 a.m. notifying the community that ELPD is actively investigating a potential threat associated with ELPD.
“We have no new information about the investigation to share at this time and need additional time and information before we can make a decision about onsite after-school and evening activities – the varsity basketball game at St. Johns will be played as scheduled. We will provide another update at 2:00 p.m.”
She asked people to rely on the school district for information and asked anyone with information to contact her or ELPD.
Meanwhile, City Hall’s doors have been locked because of a threat made against ELPD. No further information on that situation is available at this time.
Update 4:20 pm: Leyko sent out the following update:
“We are officially canceling all after-school and evening activities that are scheduled to be onsite in the district. This includes the middle school orchestra concert, high school theater practice, driver’s education classes, archery practice and any other events that are scheduled at any of our eight school campuses.
“ELPD’s investigation is still active, and we have been in constant communication with the police department throughout the day. At this time, I expect for school to be open tomorrow, but we will confirm that decision this evening.
“Thank you for your flexibility and patience today – we’ve worked hard to provide thorough and consistent communication to keep you informed of new information. I will be heading to St. Johns in a bit to cheer on our boys’ basketball team and will remain in touch with ELPD so that I can provide you with up-to-date information.”
Update, 6:00 pm: ELPD has issued the following update:
“The East Lansing Police Department (ELPD) is continuing to actively investigate a potential threat directed at East Lansing.
“ELPD was notified this morning by East Lansing Public Schools officials of threatening posts that were made just after midnight last night on social media that included an image of a firearm and messages that included potential threats of active violence.
“An IP address has been traced in connection to the threatening posts and ELPD is actively conducting a search at the IP location, including interviewing individuals to gather more information on the individual or individuals who made the threatening posts.
“At this time, ELPD has concluded that there is no direct threat to the community at large, and security measures at East Lansing City Hall have been lifted. ELPD will continue to provide updates to the community as they become available.”
Update, 8:15 p.m.: Superintendent Leyko sent out the following update:
“As communicated by East Lansing Public Safety at 4:40 p.m., an IP address was traced in connection to the threatening posts, and ELPD completed a search and interviews at that location. No weapon was found. Since that visit; however, an individual has confessed to posting the threats. ELPD and ELPS are in communication with the family, and the student will not be present at school.
“We understand the desire to know details of the investigation and action that will be taken. According to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), schools are not allowed to share the specifics of an incident if it includes any personally identifiable information about a student or information that a reasonable person in the community can use to identify a specific student.
“We are thankful for the swift investigation by ELPD and for their communication with the district throughout this process.”
Publisher’s note, March 8, 2023, 5:50 p.m.: The original headline of the story was “More Details Released on Threat Made Against East Lansing Public Schools Today.” The headline has been changed to clarify that the threat was made against East Lansing, not specifically the public schools.