Threat against Lakeshore Middle School investigated

Tribune Staff • May 24, 2018 at 1:02 PM

Four Lakeshore Middle School students discussed using firearms to attack the school’s staff and students, according to local police.

In a joint news release, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office and the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety said they received a tip from a parent on Wednesday, May 23, involving a threat to the school.

Officers from the two departments immediately investigated the threat while at the same time alerting representatives from Grand Haven Area Public Schools.

“Officers and GHAPS administrators worked through the night to identify those responsible and ensure the safety of students and school staff,” said Sheriff Steve Kempker and Grand Haven Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke in the joint statement. “Interviews and searches were conducted. The results were that no weapons were located or that a parent had custody and control of legally owned firearms. Based on the findings, it was determined that the students did not have the ability to carry out the threat.”

Police said the students are ages 13-14 and reside in Grand Haven, Ferrysburg and Norton Shores.

The incident remains under investigation, police said. The case will be reviewed by the Ottawa County prosecuting attorney for potential criminal charges once the investigation is concluded. 

The students involved in the threat will remain suspended from Lakeshore Middle School until the investigation is complete, GHAPS officials said Thursday.

Related story: How to talk to your kids about a school shooting.

“Everyone did the right thing,” said GHAPS Superintendent Andrew Ingall. “From the parent who reported the threat to local law enforcement who conducted a thorough assessment of the situation to school administrators who worked tirelessly to support the investigation, everyone involved acted swiftly and effectively. Everyone at the district is grateful for the collaborative efforts that keep our students safe each and every day.”

Once law enforcement officials determined there was no ability to carry out the threat, GHAPS officials made the decision not to cancel school on Thursday. However, additional law enforcement officers were present and other precautionary measures were taken, Ingall said.

The school district sent an email to parents late Thursday morning, and students were made aware of the threat, as well. 

“The mood (at Lakeshore) is good,” Ingall said Thursday. “We had the opening of school and it was a very normal day. We did share a brief statement with students because we’ve communicated with their parents and we wanted to make sure students were aware (of the incident). Very broadly, the student body did not display any awareness or any worry. To the casual observer, other than a couple extra police officers this morning, it was business as usual for students and staff.”

Ingall said there’s no link between this threat and the high school’s graduation ceremony, which took place Thursday night at Buccaneer Stadium. 

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