Richmond school threats, lack of staffing leave parents on edge

Two separate threats in one week has Richmond school district parents feeling uneasy. The first school threat was deemed credible and resulted in school being closed for a week, reopening Monday. A second threat was not deemed credible and school remained open.

Some parents have concerns about how they were notified, as well as the number of teachers leaving the district.

"Make no mistake, this is violence," said parent Christina Bass.

"The perpetrator is still walking the halls among our children," said parent Amanda Spears. "How can we feel any security in that."

It is what prompted parents and some staff members to the media center at Richmond High School - concerned over patterns they see.

"We have two threats within a week,." said parent Christina Teargy. "I was happy we closed for a week because it was short staff."

"Between the threats that occurred and the teachers leaving, it’s been hard to figure out what’s happening with the threats, and teachers leaving," said parent John Pepper. "And then figuring out what to do with our two children - making sure that they have care when the unfortunate situation arises where we have to close the school."

Superintendent Brian Walmsley says this is uncharted waters for him.

"In my almost 30 years of education, I have never experienced a threat so disgusting as the one that was left in our school," he said.

It started on January 2nd, schools were supposed to be closed for one day while new staff got up to speed. But then a note was found in a middle school office an antisemitic threat to kill a specific middle school staff member and his family.

Related: Richmond school district closed through Jan. 6 for death threat to employee, their family

The staff member had been on the job for just days prior to the threat and has now quit.  As a result school was closed for an entire week, resuming Monday the 9th. the day after a second threat was discovered.

"The letter that we received on Sunday was very different in the way that it was written then the letter we received that was actually hand-delivered," Walmsley said.

This threat was in an email directed at a teacher, investigated by the superintendent and police and found to be not credible. Therefore, school was allowed to resume.

But some parents say they found out about the threat only after the school day was over.

"How is it okay to withhold it and expect us to trust you," Spears said.

"We can always improve and we can always do better," Walmsley said.

We also learned tonight that Richmond police are working with Michigan State Police to investigate both threats and have submitted evidence to the crime lab. So far, no word on any suspects or arrests, however.

School will resume on Tuesday.