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'Student revolt' threat affecting schools in Genesee County

About a half dozen Genesee County school districts are dealing with a bizarre internet rumor of plans for an armed ‘student revolt’ this Friday.

Police are investigating the alleged revolt, in the wake of last week’s school massacre in Connecticut and the Mayan ‘end of the world’ prophecy.

Grand Blanc schools Superintendent Norm Abdella says messages have been swirling on social media sites that students were planning to bring weapons to schools in Genesee County on Friday.

Abdella says the messages talked about ‘going out in a blaze of glory’ on the day some believe an ancient Mayan prophecy says will be the end of the world.

Abdella says, in the wake of last week’s school massacre in Connecticut, school officials can’t simply ignore the threats as a hoax.

“It could be nothing more than a hoax. But we can’t take that chance,” says Abdella, “It’s been really nerve wracking to be honest with you.”

Earlier today, Grand Blanc High School was locked down briefly, after a student texted a parent that ‘shots had been fired at the school’ and he was hiding in a closet.   The text was discovered to be a hoax.

Security has been stepped up in many Genesee County schools and police are talking to students who shared the social media messages.

A state police spokeswoman says they are not aware of any similar threats of school violence elsewhere in Michigan.

Grand Blanc schools posted this message on the district’s website:

We are currently working with local law enforcement regarding a rumor circulating among some Genesee County High Schools via social media networks about a “student revolt” planned for this Friday. As you know 12-21-12 is supposed to be the end of the Mayan long-count calendar and we’ve received word from several students, parents, and some staff that there is talk about students bringing weapons to some local high schools on Friday. Here in Grand Blanc we are investigating every lead and taking each account seriously. In an effort to deal with this situation there will be an increased police presence at the district’s schools this week. Additionally, we are implementing a secure-in-place policy that keeps exterior and interior doors locked at all our schools but allows students to move about within the buildings. We will be secure-in-place for the rest of this week. As we learn more, we will share more. As always, we ask that you keep your eyes and ears open and report any specific information to administration or law enforcement.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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