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False alarm on Cranbrook Schools incident

By Lisa Brody

A threatening message on a whiteboard in an Upper School classroom that initiated a Shelter-in-Place protocol for all Cranbrook Schools on the morning of Thursday, May 25, was clarified to have been part of a brainstorming session during a class, after a student and their family came forward to the school's administration.

Late on Thursday evening, an Upper School student and their family came forward and shared that the image was the work of that student, and that it was written and drawn as part of a group brainstorming session for a class assignment, Cranbrook Director of Schools Jeff Suzik, PhD, shared in an email on Friday, May 26, with the school community.

The hand-drawn and hand-written image was on a whiteboard in a classroom at the Kingswood Upper School.

“Taken out of context, the image could be construed as a threat or depiction of violence, which was, of course, of great concern to us and what prompted us to act decisively and with immediacy yesterday morning. Promoting violence or harm to self or others was not the intent of the student and in no way the purpose of the classroom assignment they and their small group of fellow students were brainstorming,” Suzik said.

He said administration had spoken with the classroom teacher, who had corroborated the student's account that the work was not intended as a threat, was indeed part of an in-class assignment brainstorm and the work was not erased from the whiteboard at the end of the day on Wednesday.

Suzik said at no time was the Cranbrook community under any form of physical threat.

Bloomfield Hills Public Safety confirmed there was no physical threat to the community, and that at no time was there any weapon on the grounds.

“I would like to commend this student and their family for bravely speaking up and addressing the issue once they realized what had happened. It took courage and honor on their part, especially at the end of a very unsettling day for everyone,” Suzik noted in his email.

On Thursday morning, when a teacher discovered the threatening message on a whiteboard at the Upper School, Cranbrook security initiated a Shelter-in-Place protocol for all Cranbrook Schools on the morning of Thursday, sending a message to parents at approximately 8:50 a.m. noting, “This is not a drill.”

It went on to say that campus security had initiated their Shelter-In-Place protocol for all of Cranbrook Educational Community, and parents were instructed to not contact the school or their students.

A follow-up communication instructed parents on how to pick up their children beginning at 10 a.m. s part of campus-wide early dismissal

School is back in session for all divisions today, Friday, May 26.


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