Alma Public Schools Superintendent Addresses Threat to High School

By James Felton

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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) — Alma Public Schools Superintendent Stacey Criner spoke to TV 5 about threats against the high school. Criner tells us the school district worked with authorities to investigate the threat after a tip came in on Sept. 21. It was determined that there were no active threats to students and staff. Criner told us that three students were expelled on Tuesday. She did not say if the trio was related to the threat.

“I can’t talk about student discipline. I just have to go back to the fact that there was a student one, student two, student three, disciplinary hearing that took place on Tuesday,” Criner said.

Criner tells us there were social media posts related to the threat that emerged on Wednesday. These positions were also investigated. And again, it was determined that there was no active threat to students and staff. Criner is aware that some parents decided to pull their children out of school on Friday. But she wants them to know that her school is safe.

“Our security protocols are in place. They are strong, they worked effectively, efficiently and timely in this particular way, in this particular incident. And they will continue to do so in the future,” Criner said.

Criner tells us the investigation began with a call to the OK2SAY inquiry line.

“I am absolutely grateful that we had brave and strong students and that we used a program that I believe worked very successfully,” Criner said.

But Criner said one thing that could use a little work is how the district communicates with parents when threats are made.

“When you see some of the information posted on social media, it definitely creates emotional reactions. And that’s something we want to make sure we avoid through communication going forward,” Criner said.

The school district sent a letter to parents regarding the threat. It reads…

Parents, families and community;

APS released information on all five APS School websites, Facebook pages, and our Alma Public Schools app on September 23. Here are the facts that I can divulge.

In the late hours of September 21, 2022, Alma Public Schools received information that appeared to pose a threat to Alma High School through a state police hotline called OK2SAY.

The Alma Police Department and the Gratiot Police Department worked with the school administration on September 22, 2022, using a MOSAIC threat assessment tool and investigative interviews to determine that he there was no active threat to students and staff at the school.

After this decision, APD and APS issued a press release and an information alert.

On September 27, the school board held three disciplinary hearings behind closed doors. The due process hearings concluded with three eviction motions supported by the Council. The Alma Police Department will investigate and prosecute any necessary criminal charges regardless of the Alma Public Schools investigative and disciplinary decisions.

No new information had surfaced that changed the safety of our students. Alma Public Schools and the Alma Police Department are fully aware of the various statements and images posted on social media platforms from Wednesday, September 28 through tonight. The Alma Police Department continued to investigate all clues and rumours. Alma Public Schools has a direct and open line of communication with the Alma Police Department and anything reported to OK2SAY.

The Alma Police Department has been investigating all leads up to the time of this communication.

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