Schools in East GR, Grand Rapids react to threats

Kent County

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A similar threat to three schools led to different responses by each school system. 

The Grand Rapids Police Department says East Grand Rapids High School, Grand Rapids Christian High School and Grand Rapids’ Union High School all received bomb threats left as voicemails over the weekend.

“No indication that any of these threats were credible, but we take all school threats seriously,” GRPD tweeted Monday afternoon.

EAST GRAND RAPIDS HIGH SCHOOL

In East Grand Rapids, the public safety chief said the bomb threat was called into the high school only. The school was evacuated as East Grand Rapids Department of Public Safety and Grand Rapids Police Department searched the building. 

Students said they were alerted to the evacuation order over the intercom, which sent students running.

“It was scary. No one knew what was going on. And everyone, the principal saying ‘leave now’ it’s just kind of freaky,” said student Chase Fisher.

The district also sent out a text message to parents, but the initial message didn’t give a reason for the evacuation. In a letter to parents, Superintendent Dr. Heidi S. Kattula said the district cannot disclose the nature of the threat, its credibility or any additional details about the threat because it’s under investigation.

Grand Rapids, state and federal bomb-sniffing dogs were called in to sweep the school. Kattula said law enforcement determined the school is safe and secure.

Classes at East Grand Rapids High School were canceled Monday due to the bomb threat, but Kattula said after school and evening activities are still planned. Classes are also expected to resume Tuesday morning.

The district said there were no threats to any other building, but officers patrolled other school buildings as an additional precaution. All other schools were open Monday. 

GRAND RAPIDS CHRISTIAN HIGH SCHOOL

A threatening voicemail led to a shelter in place order at Grand Rapids Christian High School Monday morning.

Grand Rapids Christian Schools Superintendent Tom DeJonge ​​​​​​tells 24 Hour News 8 the school took precautions as soon as students arrived Monday morning, after administrators discovered the threatening message, which was left over the weekend.

The superintendent says their school worked with Grand Rapids police and a security consultant to investigate the threat, which turned out to be false. The shelter in place order was lifted at 10:30 a.m.

UNION HIGH SCHOOL

Grand Rapids Public Schools’ spokesman John Helmholdt confirmed Union High School also received some sort of threat message by voicemail.

Helmholdt said the district followed its protocols, determined the threat was not credible and did not go into any kind of lockdown.

GRPS also reviewed surveillance tape during its investigation.

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