Some Students Stayed Home Ahead of Oxford School Shooting Due to Online Threats

After a 15-year-old allegedly opened fire at his high school in Oxford Township, Michigan, on Tuesday, killing three students and wounding eight other people, reports emerged that online threats had possibly caused some students to stay home in order to avoid any potential violence.

Detroit's ABC-affiliated station WXYZ reported Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said authorities had heard threats had been circulating prior to the shooting, but he cautioned against believing social media reports until more information becomes available.

"We're also hearing that there were rumors that someone had said something or knew something," Bouchard said, according to WXYZ. "None of that came to us until today. So, if there is information, that is the kind of thing we need to know and get looped in to."

One parent, though, told reporters her son was concerned enough about threats he'd heard that he stayed home on Tuesday. She said her son texted several cousins who told him they didn't want to go to school. He then asked his mother if he could stay home and do his schoolwork online.

Oxford High School
Some Oxford High School students allegedly stayed home Tuesday because of rumors they had heard about potential violence. A sophomore allegedly opened fire at the school Tuesday, killing three and wounding 8 others. In this photo, emergency vehicles are seen near Oxford High School following the shooting on November 30, 2021 in Oxford, Michigan. Getty

"This couldn't be just random," Robin Redding, the parent, said in comments that aired on NPR's Wednesday edition of Up First.

Redding didn't give further details about the threats her son allegedly heard, but she said there was anger among students and at the school.

"This has to stop—this senseless killing, kids killing kids," she said.

Redding's son, Oxford senior Treshan Bryant, told The Washington Post that he had heard rumors about somebody planning to "shoot up" the school.

"That puts a lot of fear into a kid," he said, according to the newspaper.

Oxford High School had posted two letters on its website in November, one of which addressed online rumors about a threat to the school. The other letter discussed a vandalism incident.

The November 4 letter from Principal Steve Wolf said someone had thrown a deer head into a courtyard from the school's roof, as well as painted windows on the roof and a concrete spot nearby with red paint.

Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe McCabe said during a Tuesday news conference that the deer head incident was "absolutely unrelated" to the shooting.

The letter from school administrators posted online on November 12 said: "We are aware of the numerous rumors that have been circulating throughout our building this week."

"Student interpretations of social media posts and false information have exacerbated the overall concern," the November 12 letter continued. "We want our parents and students to know there has been no threat to our building nor our students."