Atherton Schools bans cell phones at high school following ‘air drop’ threats


FLINT, MI — Atherton Schools has banned cell phones and other personal communication devices from the junior/senior high school after students received “air drop” threats of violence on more than one occasion.

District Superintendent John Ploof on Friday, Nov. 11 announced the ban, generally involving cell phones, smart phones and smart watches. It takes effect Monday, Nov. 14.

If a student is found with a personal communication device, the device will be confiscated and the student could face disciplinary action.

Ploof said the ban comes at the recommendation from Burton Police Chief Brian Ross.

Related: Flint area school district adding armed security, metal detectors after ‘airdrop’ threats

“Please keep in mind that the threats which occurred last Thursday brought fear and terror in both students and parents,” Ploof wrote in a letter to parents Friday. “This resulted in parents picking up their students and keeping them home on Friday.”

The first airdrop threat came on Oct. 25, a day after parents voiced frustration with the Atherton Board of Education over a music teacher’s arrest for an alleged sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student.

Some parents accused school administrators of not being transparent and failing to communicate the development quickly to parents.

Ploof said that any parent who needs to get a message to their student should contact the school office for help. Students also will be allowed to use phones in the office to contact parents.

Related: Parents demand answers at first Atherton school board meeting after teacher arrested

The cell phone ban, which starts Nov. 14, will cover the hours of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

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