Kids as Young as 9 Have Made ‘Copy-Cat’ Threats in Wake of Michigan School Shooting, Police Say

·2 min read
Emily Elconin/Getty
Emily Elconin/Getty

Authorities in Michigan are sounding the alarm over a disturbing trend following the deadly Oxford High School shooting—more children making violent threats against classmates, including some reported to be as young as 9 years old.

In one Michigan county, nearly two dozen children have been charged over the course of just a few days.

“We have charged 18 youth in the last few days with crimes relating to school threats. Much has been written about these types of cases lately, yet still these serious events continue to happen,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement Wednesday.

The threats have been unrelenting, with disruptions at several Detroit-area high schools after students as young as 12 allegedly threatened violence, Worthy told reporters. At least one middle school was also the subject of threats, and a student at a Detroit academy for fifth grade through eighth grade was reportedly found to have a weapon.

In neighboring Oakland County, the disturbing talk of violence has trended even younger, with two 9-year-old elementary school students taken into police custody over a “‘naughty/nice’ list” that police say listed students as either “dead” or “alive.”

In a press release, Waterford Police Chief Scott Underwood detailed several other recent incidents that led to criminal charges against students.

“An eighth-grader at Pierce Middle School told another student that he brought a gun to school, and at one point made a threatening gesture with his hand, mimicking a shooting gun,” the statement said.

“Administrators at Oakland Scholars Charter School made [police] aware of an eighth-grader who made statements about his plan ‘if I was a school shooter,’ including type of gun as well as time and location.”

The constant threat of further violence means Michigan students, many of whom are still reeling after four Oxford High School students were gunned down in the hallway last week, have been unable to grieve.

“People are making threats. They are saying, ‘I’m going to bomb the school. I’m going to kill people,” Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit told reporters Tuesday.

Savit said two middle-school students have been charged in connection with threats in his county. At least five students have also reportedly been charged in Macomb County.

The worrying rise in threats has not been limited to Michigan. Four students in Miami-Dade Public Schools were arrested in just three days this week after allegedly threatening to unleash attacks on South Florida high schools.

Combined with the wave of threats, reports have also emerged of kids showing up at schools with their parents’ firearms. A second grader in St. Louis brought a loaded gun to school Friday “to show it to classmates,” authorities said.

Two days before that, a kindergarten student unwittingly brought a backpack to school that contained his parents’ gun.

No charges were leveled in either case because authorities determined there was no criminal conduct.

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