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East Lansing Public Schools, City Hall closed due to social media threat

East Lansing High School photo
East Lansing Public Schools

Updated on Wednesday, March 8 at 8:20 p.m. ET

East Lansing Public Schools and City Hall were closed Wednesday after officials said they saw a threatening post on social media.

Early Wednesday morning, at about 6:38 a.m., East Lansing Public Schools Superintendent Dori Leyko sent an email announcing the cancellation of classes after officials were made aware of a threatening post on Snapchat from after midnight. The social media post also displayed an image of a firearm.

School officials shared the information with the East Lansing Police Department to assist with an investigation. Police officials say they've tracked an IP address connected to the posts and are searching the location and interviewing individuals to learn who made the threats.

East Lansing City Hall also temporarily locked its doors Wednesday as the police department investigated the threat. A press release says the threat may have “a possible connection” to the police department.

The release adds the police have not issued a shelter-in-place order and they believe "there is no direct threat to the community at large."

All onsite after school activities in the district have been cancelled, though Leyko said the high school boys basketball game is continuing as planned.

"I will be heading to St. Johns in a bit to cheer on our boys' basketball team and will remain in touch with ELPD so that I can provide you with up-to-date information," she wrote in a press release.

Leyko said in an email Wednesday night that, following an investigation by law enforcement officials, East Lansing schools would be open Thursday.

"As communicated by East Lansing Public Safety at 4:40 p.m., an IP address was traced in connection to the threatening posts, and ELPD completed a search and interviews at that location. No weapon was found," she said. "Since that visit; however, an individual has confessed to posting the threats. ELPD and ELPS are in communication with the family, and the student will not be present at school."

Leyko added that she was no able to share further information due to privacy laws.

"We understand the desire to know details of the investigation and action that will be taken. According to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), schools are not allowed to share the specifics of an incident if it includes any personally identifiable information about a student or information that a reasonable person in the community can use to identify a specific student. We are thankful for the swift investigation by ELPD and for their communication with the district throughout this process."

School and police officials have not responded to requests for comment.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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