Politics: Shooting hoax, Mayan calendar, close Michigan schools for the week

Published by: Robert Laurie on Thursday December 20th, 2012

Robert Laurie

By ROBERT LAURIE - Seriously? The Mayan calendar is closing schools?

Two counties in Southeast Lower Michigan have decided to close school districts for the rest of the week, sending kids to Christmas vacation immediately. Announced last night, the closures are the result of a student's hoax and fears related to the so-called "Mayan prophecy."

Genesee County closed its schools after a student sent his mother a text claiming a gunman had fired several shots inside Grand Blanc High School.  She immediately called police, who swarmed the building and began searching, only to learn that the whole incident was completely bogus.

Wednesday evening, district officials released a statement.

"We have discussed information from local law enforcement, the realities of being able to investigate every threat, information related to district sensitivities, and our concerns about whether a normal instructional day could be achieved against students. Our conclusion is that canceling school is the appropriate thing to do."

In nearby Lapeer County, things get a little stranger.  There have been no verified threats, no hoaxes, and no actual violence, but they're shutting down the schools anyway.  Apparently, they're hearing undisclosed rumors suggesting something might happen.  Also, they're just a wee bit jittery about the Mayan prophecy which claims the world is ending Friday afternoon.

A statement on their website reads as follows: "Given the recent events in Connecticut, there have been numerous rumors circulating in our district, and in neighboring districts, about potential threats of violence against students. Additionally, rumors connected to the Mayan calendar predicted end of the world on Friday have also surfaced. These rumors of violence have been thoroughly investigated and determined to be false." 

"These rumors have been a serious distraction for students, teachers, administrators, and parents." Matt Wandrie, superintendent of Lapeer schools, said in an additional statement. "Although we in the county are reluctant to cancel school because the rumors are unsubstantiated, we feel it is the most appropriate decision given the gravity of recent events and our present circumstances." 

Classes in both districts will resume January 7th.