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Miscommunication leads to confusion at Okemos High School after false shooting report

February 7, 2023
<p>Frustrated parents wait instructions to pick up their children at the 242 Community Church in Okemos after a false shooting report at Okemos High School on Feb. 7, 2023.</p>

Frustrated parents wait instructions to pick up their children at the 242 Community Church in Okemos after a false shooting report at Okemos High School on Feb. 7, 2023.

Okemos High School students were evacuated this morning following a false-alarm shooting that was a part larger series of false reports in high schools throughout the state.

Following an initial evacuation to the school's football field, parents were instructed to gather at 242 Community Church to be reunified with their children by police on scene. Empty buses began filling the church parking lot due to a miscommunication as to where the students were.

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There was also a lack of communication between the school and parents regarding their children's whereabouts, parents said.

Melissa Henne, one such parent, said that she found out about the emergency from her son at 9:19 a.m., who was messaging her from the lockdown. Henne tried to go to the high school but was instructed by a fire marshal to go to the church.

“I got a message that says, ‘Mom, I love you so much. We’re in a real lockdown,’” Henne said. "The only thing I was worried about is (that) I just wanted my kid.”

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A mass email was sent to parents by the school at 10:26 a.m. telling parents "ALL Okemos public students and staff are safe."

Meridian Police Chief Ken Plaga said students who drove themselves to school today would be dismissed back to their vehicles to drive themselves home. Students who did not drive were not allowed to leave the evacuation point.

This incident at OHS was a part of a series of false calls made to high schools throughout the state Tuesday morning, including in Ann Arbor, Portage, Jackson, Battle Creek and Muskegon.

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