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  • By Lisa Brody

Derby school closed Friday after graffiti threat

Derby Middle School in Birmingham was closed for students on Friday, March 23, after troubling graffiti was discovered in a girl's bathroom on Thursday, March 22.

Administration with the Birmingham Public Schools district made the decision to close the school for students for the day as the writing referred to a threat to be carried out at lunch on Friday, an email sent to parents announced. Upon discovery of the threat, the Birmingham Police Department was notified, and a full investigation is underway.

They have not yet determined who the culprit is behind the graffiti.

“Although the police investigation is not complete, our district administrators have determined that not holding a student day at Derby on Friday, March 23, is what needs to occur. All before and after school activities are also cancelled. We truly regret this loss of a day of learning,” the Derby administrative team wrote Derby families.

“It would also help us if you would please have a conversation with your student about the need to report something that is suspicious or threatening in nature,” the email continued.

Derby Middle School, and Birmingham Public Schools, are not the only local school to encounter a threat in recent days. There were reports that more than two dozen schools across metro Detroit were closed on Thursday, March 22, due to violent threats. Among those, Oak Park Schools were closed Thursday and Friday due to social media threats against multiple schools; and Farmington Community School and Farmington Central High School were closed Thursday due to a threatening message posted to social media.

In Macomb County, Fitzgerald Public Schools were closed, and in Detroit, John R. King Academy was on lockdown after two suspicious packages were discovered.

In all instances, schools and districts are working with local law enforcement agencies.

“I think now, with everything that has gone on, with the school shootings, it makes you aware of school violence. Before, it was just pranks and kids writing graffiti,” said Birmingham Schools Director of Community Relations Marcia Wilkinson, referring to the Derby threat. “Now, there is so much that has gone on in the world, we just can't take any chances, and I'm sure every school feels no differently.

“Hopefully, we'll find out who did this,” she continued.

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