(Courtesy of Canton Patch, Photo Credit Peg McNichol)
While classes are in session at Plymouth-Canton Educational Park, Canton Police are investigating a second threatening note.
Pymouth-Canton Community Schools’ Superintenent Jeremy Hughes said today’s note was found in Plymouth High School by a student. On Monday a Salem High School teacher found a note slipped under the door of his classroom. Both notes resulted in a semi-lockdown situation. While Monday’s classes were dismissed early, police allowed school to continue on Wednesday.
Hughes said he had read both of the notes but did not want to jeopardize police work by revealing details.
Canton Police issued a statement just before 1 p.m. indicating that the note appear to be “similar in content and style to a note found at P-CEP on Monday,” according to the statement.
Canton Police today announced an additional $1,000 reward through CrimeStoppers, which funnels anonymous tips to police. The district has already offered a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible, which still stands.
In addition to Canton Police being on the scene, the Michigan State Police bomb squad responded to the Wednesday morning incident.
Canton Police Sgt. Mark Gajeski said there “was never an active threat,” explaining that no one was being directly threatened or hurt. No injuries were reported as the result of either incident this week, he said. The bomb squad was called as a precautionary measure, he said.
“It took them about two seconds to realize it was nothing,” he said.
Gajeski said no one has been arrested or detained in connection with either note. He said detectives remain at the school investigating and that police patrols in and outside the school buildings has been increased and will be for the immediate future.
Some parents are reporting on Canton Patch’s Facebook page that they feel anxious and say some of their children who attend the three-school campus, which includes Salem, Plymouth and Canton high schools, are worried as well.
Wednesday’s incident also unfolded early — Gajeski said police were called around 7:30 a.m. Students were held in their first-hour classes which typically end by 8 a.m. During Monday’s incident, students were moving between first- and second-hour classes and directed to proceed to the nearest classroom.
Some parents indicated they would pick up their children even though classes were not canceled. District spokesman Frank Ruggirello Jr said a few parents did remove their children from the school
“We go from lockdown, bomb squad, buses waiting to all clear and everyone staying put in a little over an hour?????” Kathy Jurczyk Krzyzowski wrote on Canton Patch’s Facebook page. “I don’t know about anyone else but I don’t want my child there right now!
Jurczyk Krzyzowski added a note later which said, despite being “all in favor of law enforcement handling the issue… what I don’t like is being left in the dark with news that ‘notes have been found!’ I think it’s time for a town hall where the contents of these ‘notes’ are revealed to put us at ease and hopefully led to someone knowing something about who is doing this!”
Other parents were more pragmatic. Jackie Yousseff of Canton said she has three children who are Plymouth High School students. Yousseff, visiting the district offices on another matter, said she just hopes nothing bad happens.
Yousseff said she believed the district officials and police have handled both incidents well. “They did a good job. They took care of it right away,” she said.
District spokesman Frank Ruggirello Jr said the district takes every threat “as very serious.”
School counselors will be available to students as well as teachers and other staff Hughes said.
Hughes, a former state superintendent, also addressed concerns that Monday’s early dismissal would affect the district’s student headcount and because of that, the per-pupil payments from the state. He said categorically that head count was not affected by this week’s incidents.