Utica Schools, parents confront Facebook threats - New York News

Utica Schools, parents deal with threats of violence on Facebook

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Davis Junior High School in Sterling Heights Davis Junior High School in Sterling Heights
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WJBK) -

"My kid came home yesterday and said, 'Mom, everybody's talking. It's going to be a Columbine on Monday," said Melissa Roth.

That is the fear. We're told it all seem to start around January with a picture of a seventh grader at David Junior High School in Sterling Heights posing with his gun followed by countless troubling pictures and Facebook posts of dark days, life not worth living and threats followed by physical attacks to himself and others in school.

Numerous parents say they complained to the principal and the school board, yet nothing has changed.

Tracy Castiglione was forced to file a police report after the student, she says, assaulted her son at school.

"Due to the physical assaults that he's had on the children at this school, due to the threats that he has made on Facebook, we feel that, yes, he is not emotionally stable enough to be in with other children," Castiglione remarked.

"He had come home yesterday saying there is a rumor going around school that [the student] will be bringing a gun to school on Monday, and he's going to shoot out the whole place. It's circulating. It's creating panic," Roth said.

"By Tuesday that these kids are going to see what he can do, so we are taking it seriously," said Rachel Ducusin.

They are referring to what they say the student is telling their kids and a countdown on his Facebook page. They are so worried they yanked their kids out of school.

"He will not go back to school until I know for sure this child will not be in school again," Castliglione said.

"Until they can give me proof that my son is going to be safe going to that school, yes, he will not be going there," Ducusin said.

The school turned down an interview, and in response to our questions about the ongoing threats parents claim that have been going on for months, Utica Community Schools issued the following statement.

"Every reported issue has been addressed by the principal. In working with the police department, there is not a threat to Davis Junior High School. We continue to work directly with all of our families."

Sterling Heights police said they have investigated two complaints. They interviewed the student and searched his home after the picture with his weapon was posted. Thursday, police were waiting at school when he arrived. They searched his backpack and questioned him. In both cases, they determined there was no threat.

Police said they were not aware of any other issues, which some parents find troubling since they say they brought several situations to the district's attention. They just want something done before it's too late.

"We're trying to give him a chance to do what he has to do, but we feel like we've given him all year to do what he has to do, and it's not working," Castliglione said.

We're told several parents pulled their kids out of school on Thursday, but the reasoning is not clear.

We were told by police that Thursday afternoon the school district told that student not to return for the rest of the school year. It's also not clear why that decision was made.

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