Richmond schools closed until Monday after death threat targeting employee, their family

Richmond schools closed
Posted at 7:24 AM, Jan 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-05 08:45:29-05

RICHMOND, MI (WXYZ) — The Richmond Police Department is investigating a death threat targeting an employee of Richmond Community Schools.

Tuesday the district made the decision to close all school buildings due to a staffing shortage. Superintendent Brian Walmsley says they wanted to give administrators and staff more time to prepare but around 7:30 that morning when faculty got to the middle school building, they found a threatening letter on employees desk. Walmsley says the letter included very specific information and dates causing the district to close for the remainder of the week for safety. Athletic events and practices were also cancelled.

Walmsley sent a letter to parents and students notifying them of the closure.

"Immediately, the district went into lockdown and the Richmond Police were called," the letter says.

The district says they've already turned over the note, security camera footage and door access digital records to the police. The Richmond Police department is now investigating. They have not identified the person responsible yet.

"My husband and I were definitely concerned over the matter," said Kerrie Yingst who has a son in Richmond Community Schools.

Yingst who has an elementary aged student says she lucked out and would already be working from home this week. She says she's hoping both the staffing shortage and school threats are sorted out soon.

"My boy he’s only in elementary school so he’s just now getting familiar with everything and understanding. So to try to sit there and explain it to him, me and my husband look at each other and never thought we would have to come to this but we definitely want him to be prepared," said Yingst.

Superintendent Walmsley says while they don't know who left the threatening letter just yet, he's encouraging parents and guardians to talk to their children about the seriousness of threats and the legal implications that come with them.

"The district will insist the individual or individuals involved with leaving this threatening note be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," the superintendent writes. "This is beyond comprehension that someone would threaten the safety of an employee and their family."

Richmond Community Schools are expected to reopen Monday, January 9th.

If anyone has any information on the threat or has information that may lead to the arrest of the individual or individuals who issued the threat, please contact Officer Roberts at the Richmond Police Department at (586) 727-4000.