School safety is something we all take very seriously, whether you are a student, parent, staff, or community member. Yesterday, a number of Michigan school districts were affected by false reports of an active shooter on their campuses. It was first reported that impacted schools received internet-based phone calls with threats, which have been unsubstantiated.

These incidents are part of a hoax known as “swatting” that is targeting schools across the state. Swatting incidents are threats made to schools with the purpose of triggering a response by police and first responders – instilling fear and panic throughout school communities while disrupting public safety agencies.

While Hemlock Public School District did not experience this issue directly, a school building in our county did and we reacted by limiting access to our schools and movement within along with being on heightened alert. Please know that our first priority is always the safety and well-being of our students and staff. We take all reports of potential threats seriously and make every effort to ensure safe learning environments. In an overabundance of caution, our district decided to enter into a secure mode in concert with local public safety.

In our district we call this "secure mode." From time to time, we use this "secure mode" as part of our safety response, sometimes it is a drill, other times it is in response to student behavior, and other times it may be a custody issue with parents.

We encourage our students and the whole school community to report anything that could constitute a threat to school safety. We work closely with public safety leaders and officers to assist in these situations. In our district we have multiple ways for this communication to occur such as OK2SAY, Connect Hemlock, via email, or by phone at 989.642.5282.

In the near future, Superintendent Killingbeck will be hosting an opportunity for parents and community members to learn more about school safety and the collective role we all play in keeping everyone safe.