Paul Jacobs, a Hazel Park Junior High School teacher, has been charged with "making an intentional threat to commit acts of violence against a school, school employees or students."
When a staff member at Hazel Park Junior High School in Hazel Park, Michigan, found what appeared to be a bomb threat in Paul Jacobs’ classroom, the police were immediately called in to search the premises. They found no explosives, and began to suspect that something was off about Jacobs himself, a social studies teacher at the school.
According to Michigan Live, the authorities initially believed that Jacobs had seen the note and failed to report it. But they came to suspect that the 40-year-old teacher had actually planted the note himself to get a day off.
Now, Jacobs has been charged with making an intentional threat of an act of violence against a school, employees, or students. If found guilty of the misdemeanor charge, Jacobs could be sentenced to one year in prison.
“The safety of all students and staff is the number one priority,” Amy Kruppe, the district’s superintendent, reassured parents in a letter reported by The Detroit News. “Hazel Park Schools, the Hazel Park Police Department, and the City of Hazel Park will not tolerate threats or hoaxes related to campus safety under any circumstance.”
The strange saga began on Feb. 2, when a staff member discovered the note in Jacobs’ classroom. Dozens of police officers descended on Hazel Park Junior High School in the immediate aftermath, bringing around 10 bomb-sniffing K-9 dogs to search for any bombs, according to WXYZ Detroit.
They found no explosives but began to suspect that social studies teacher Paul Jacobs had had something to do with the bomb threat.
According to The Detroit News, a subsequent investigation revealed that a teacher — Jacobs — had been aware of the note but had failed to report seeing it. Then, the investigation took a strange turn. Not only had Jacobs seen the note, but investigators came to believe that he had planted it.
“We don’t have evidence to say one way or another if he wrote it,” cautioned Hazel Park Police Chief Brian Buchholz. “[Jacobs was] seen placing it on the desk by [an] entry door between classes when no students were around.”
The 40-year-old social studies teacher allegedly planted the note in hopes of getting the next day off. According to The Detroit News, he is no longer employed by the school district. School administrators noted that his bomb threat, though an empty one, was harmful to the student body.
“Kids are scared,” Kruppe told WXYZ. “Threats that continue to happen in schools are traumatizing for kids… I don’t think you are ever numb to it.”
And even though there was no bomb at the school, Kruppe also expressed her gratitude to the local police for their thorough investigation.
“Hazel Park Police have taken every case seriously within the schools and that’s wonderful because we are communicating to our community that this is not a joke,” she told WXYZ.
According to The Detroit News, fake threats against schools have become an unsettling norm in Michigan lately. Shortly before Jacobs allegedly planted his bomb scare, half a dozen schools across the state received threatening phone calls that were later revealed to be fake.
But usually such calls come from students. Authorities in Michigan have acknowledged that it’s rare for a threat to come from a teacher. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office told The Detroit News that it doesn’t know of any similar cases.
Paul Jacobs, who was arraigned on Feb. 4, will return to court on Feb. 28. His bond has been set at $10,000.
After reading about Paul Jacobs and how he allegedly planted a bomb scare at Hazel Park Junior High School, discover the gruesome story of how high school freshman Philip Chism murdered a teacher in a school bathroom. Or, see how two teenagers in Iowa were charged with beating their Spanish teacher to death — all over a bad grade.