2012-12-26 / Front Page

No gun threat; student embellished story

BY ERIC LEVINE

MARLETTE — It took a couple hours, but police untangled the case of the alleged gun threat and led to the cancellation of school last week.

“At no time was there ever a threat or were the students and staff ever in danger,” said Marlette Chief of Police Brian McGinnis.

The investigation began Tuesday, Dec. 18 around 1:30 p.m., when school officials learned from the parents of an elementary school student that the boy told them he heard students talk about bringing guns to school.

The alleged conversation between two students had occurred on a school bus the previous afternoon, said McGinnis.

The parents had not con- tacted police or the school about the child’s report. School officials only learned about it when they called the parents on an unrelated matter, the chief said.

The investigation revealed “the young man had embellished quite a bit on the story,” McGinnis said. “After talking with him, he admitted he had lied”.

However, the boy maintained students told him about hearing about guns.

After interviewing other students who were on the bus, police determined that a brother and sister had been discussing gun-related threats that had occurred at schools in nearby counties.

McGinnis said it was around 3:30 p.m. “when we finally got to the bottom of this.”

By that time, “school administration and board members had talked and made the determination” to cancel classes and extra-curricular activities through Dec. 21, the chief said.

Although the police and school officials knew there was no threat, there still was “a lot of bad information floating around,” he said.

“We’re still trying to get correct information out to people,” he said Thursday morning.

In a press release Tuesday afternoon, Superintendent Jeriann Patterson stated, “It was determined that student safety was not in jeopardy at any time. However, due to the recent events the Board of Education and I felt that it was in the best interest of the district to cancel classes and extra curricular events for the remainder of the week. The days will be made up in June.”

The incident occurred on the heels of a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school on Dec. 14, when 20 children and six adults were killed by a gunman.

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