Dowagiac Union Schools to close Friday due to potential threats

Published 7:34 pm Thursday, December 16, 2021

DOWAGIAC — Dowagiac Union Schools will be closed Friday following investigations into potential threats made at school buildings, Superintendent Jonathan Whan announced Thursday evening.

“To be on the side of extra cautions and for a smoother transition into Christmas break, all Dowagiac Union Schools will be closed on Friday, Dec. 17,” Whan wrote in a letter to district parents. “We will return to school as planned on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.”

The announcement comes after district officials and police investigated rumors and potential threats throughout the day Thursday.

Thursday morning, DUS sent an all-call to parents regarding an investigation to statements by secondary students about “something happening” at the high school Friday. According to the investigation by the administration and the police, the threat assessment is considered low.

Later in the day, a note was found in a middle school bathroom that claimed something would happen at Dowagiac Middle School Friday as well.

“In this case, the investigation was able to identify the students who may have been involved,” Whan said. “These students have been removed from school and will remain so until a final determination is made regarding their involvement and what actions will be taken.”

In addition to these investigations, district officials learned Thursday of what is being labeled as a “national threat” circulating on social media through TikTok posts and other social media outlets, which are challenging students to call in bomb and school shooting threats at schools across the U.S. Friday.

“These posts did not originate from our area, but warrant our consideration and attention in regards to safety,” Whan wrote in a letter to parents.

Whan reminded students and parents that threats of any nature are against the District Code of Conduct and can lead to serious legal penalties.

“Please take a moment to discuss this issue with your child,” Whan said. “Threats or threatening behavior have no place in our school or community. The consequences for making threats may be dire. We are fortunate to have a conscientious community that takes action.”