The State – 02/09/23

Rachel Fulton

Today’s weather forecast is predicting rain early in the day and then remaining cloudy with showers in the afternoon with a high of 52 degrees and a low of 32 degrees.

FBI investigating hoax school shooting reports with local law enforcement

Okemos High School was evacuated on Tuesday, Feb. 7, after a call to police gave false reports of shots fired in the building. Various school districts around the state received similar calls.

Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wrigglesworth said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon that the dispatch call had claimed there was an active shooter inside the school and there were injuries pertaining to a specific classroom.

Wrigglesworth arrived at Okemos High School and said two Meridian Township officers entered the school and were able to get to the specific room and clear it within six minutes of the phone call being placed. The officers quickly found no signs of an active shooter or injuries on the campus.

The students were quickly evacuated to the football field where they waited for busses to arrive to take them to the reunification point at 242 Church.

FBI Special Agent David Porter said the FBI is working in coordination with several other local and state law enforcement agencies in communities affected by the hoax report.

Porter said it is still to be determined whether or not the various calls are connected at this time and since the investigation is still ongoing, Meridian Township Police Chief Ken Plaga said the details of the call are not available to be shared.

Superintendent of Okemos Public Schools John Hood also announced that the district was to be closed yesterday, but sporting events resumed.

Miscommunication leads to confusion at Okemos High School after false shooting report

Following the initial evacuation to the school’s football field, parents were instructed to gather at 242 Community Church to be reunified with their children by police on scene. Empty buses began filling the church parking lot due to a miscommunication as to where the students were.

There was also a lack of communication between the school and parents regarding their children’s whereabouts, parents said.

A mass email was sent to parents by the school at 10:26 a.m. telling parents “ALL Okemos public students and staff are safe.”

Meridian Police Chief Ken Plaga said students who drove themselves to school that day would be dismissed back to their vehicles to drive themselves home. Students who did not drive were not allowed to leave the evacuation point.

This incident at OHS was a part of a series of false calls made to high schools throughout the state Tuesday morning, including in Ann Arbor, Portage, Jackson, Battle Creek and Muskegon.

New Board of Trustees to hold first spring meeting on Friday

The Board of Trustees, featuring two new trustees and a new chair, will hold its first regular meeting of the spring semester tomorrow at 9 a.m. in room 401 of the Hannah Administration Building. The meeting will be trustee Rema Vassar’s first as chair after being elected to the position on Jan. 11.

The meeting will be livestreamed online. Public participation speakers must pre-register at least 48 hours before the start of the meeting. Public participation will occur at the end of the meeting.

The agenda includes approval of the construction of the new Multicultural Center. The building would be located near Shaw Hall and, if approved, construction would begin in April 2023, with “substantial completion” by October 2024.

In addition to the authorization to proceed with building the Multicultural Center, the budget and finance committee will recommend the purchase of two properties, located at 4600 and 4700 Hagadorn Rd., in order to consolidate MSU Health Care Inc. to one location.

The committee will also recommend authorization for administration to enter agreements for the construction of a turfgrass testing facility. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA, will fund and construct the facility, which will be available for MSU’s use at the end of FIFA’s project. The project is focused on developing a turfgrass system that can be used temporarily in indoor and outdoor stadiums.

Authorization to plan a new research building in Detroit in line with MSU’s agreement with Henry Ford Health will also be recommended to the board, along with authorization to plan the renewal of Campbell Hall, which is in need of “major infrastructure repairs.” Finally, the committee will recommend proceeding with the reconstruction of the Farm Lane Bridge.

Based on original reporting by Bella Johnson, Maggie George and Vivian Barrett.