TRAVERSE CITY — Another bomb threat at Grand Traverse Academy proved to be a hoax, but administrators and Michigan State Police weren’t laughing.
GTA Superintendent Jim Coneset said an academy alumni notified him Tuesday night of a Snapchat showing a current and former student with the message, “We have a bomb.” He found out about it at around 9 p.m., just as people were leaving after a basketball game.
Coneset said he called central dispatch and came to the school. He spotted the former student and asked him to stay while police arrived. Michigan State Police took it from there.
An MSP trooper interviewed the former student, whose Snapchat account was used to post the picture, according to a release. The former student said it was a joke, and an MSP K-9 found no bomb after sweeping the building.
A trooper also spoke with the current student pictured in the post, MSP Lt. Derrick Carroll said — Coneset said that student wasn’t aware the picture would be used in that way.
Police cleared the building by 11:15 p.m., Coneset said.
“We knew it was a hoax, but they made a sweep anyway with the animals. It gives them some opportunity to do some training, and for me, just a little peace of mind,” he said.
Carroll said the building wasn’t evacuated, and Coneset said that’s in part because people were already leaving.
Carroll said police evaluate the threat and don’t always evacuate, as that could leave people outside vulnerable to another danger — like a shooter.
The former student was banned from GTA for life following the incident, Coneset said.
It’s the second bomb threat at GTA in as many months. Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s deputies investigated another in early December that also proved unfounded, as previously reported. That threat prompted an early dismissal.
Coneset said the December threat is still under investigation. He plans on talking to students about the issue and talking with the Grand Traverse County prosecutor about how to hold people accountable for these hoaxes.
“This is, even at the hoax level, this is very much a detriment to the rest of our students and our families,” he said.
MSP is sending a report to the Grand Traverse County Prosecutor, who will decide on any possible charges, Carroll said. Neither student was arrested.
Carroll added social media posts like the one in question aren’t jokes, they’re threats that cause panic and waste police resources — an MSP release states they’re “not a joke. It is a felony.”