Kettering police to seek felony charge against student inquiring about guns after TikTok post

KETTERING — Police plan to seek a felony charge against a Kettering middle school student they say was searching gun websites and talking about the weapons during school.

A 13-year-old Van Buren male eighth-grader was suspended Thursday after searching firearm sites on a Chromebook and making comments to other students about guns, said Kettering Police Department spokesman Officer Tyler Johnson.

The afternoon incident occurred on the eve of what was posted on TikTok as “National Shoot Up your School Day,” which threatened shootings, bomb threats and other violent acts. The Kettering student did not have a weapon, Johnson said.

“I think the biggest cause for concern was the timing of it with this (TikTok) challenge and the social media attention that this challenge is getting.,” he said. “Obviously, everybody’s on a high alert (and) they’re still making comments like this — talking about guns. It’s just a different time now. You can’t do that anymore.”

He said police plan to recommend a felony inducing panic charge against the student when they meet with prosecutors next week.

Kettering’s incident follows two Centerville High School students each charged with a felony involving a Dec. 3 incident involving an actual gun on that campus.

The national TikTok post was deemed not credible by many in law enforcement. But it prompted increased police presence Friday in some school districts — including Kettering — as it came on the heels of a 10-day stretch that included fatal shootings at a Michigan school, as well as threats in Centerville, Dayton, Northmont, Franklin and Fairborn that did not result in violence.

Johnson said after the Kettering incident, which happened Thursday afternoon in a study hall, one student told two others about the eighth-grader’s actions and comments. Those two then went to the school’s central office and informed the principal and the school resource officer, he said.

The student in question was then taken to the office, and the principal and SRO “went through his search history and saw that he was searching what they said he was searching,” Johnson said.

The suspected student’s parents were called and they came to take him from the school, he added.

Attempts to reach Kettering City Schools officials about the case were unsuccessful Friday.

On Thursday, Superintendent Scott Inskeep and Van Buren Principal Sarah Adams addressed the issue on district’s Facebook page and in an email, respectively.

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