VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A disturbing trend of violent threats against area schools continued last week in the Resort City.
Virginia Beach Schools confirm a threatening message was found written in graffiti discovered on a bathroom wall.
In response, Principal Melissa George sent the following to parents:
Good evening, Kempsville families. This is principal Melissa George and I am calling you to share that, just as has been seen in other high schools in our division recently, we have found one of our bathroom stalls defaced with grafitti and threatening messages. We are working with police to find the student responsible, and as a precaution, there may be an additional police presence at our school tomorrow. As such, please share with your child that this behavior is unacceptable and will lead to disciplinary action at the school as well as possible criminal charges. If your child has any information regarding who might be responsible, please encourage them to share it with an administrator or police officer. Thank you.
The threat at Kempsville is just the latest to be confirmed in Hampton Roads.
Also last week, a female student at Tallwood High School was charged with disturbing the peace in connection to a threat found in a bathroom there.
The week prior saw threats against Ocean Lakes and Landstown High Schools, both in Virginia Beach, and Smithfield High School in Isle of Wight County all in the same day.
An 18-year-old Smithfield student was arrested and charged in the latter. Investigators also removed an AR-15, two loaded magazines, .233 ammunition, multiple cell phones, USB drives, flash drives, an iPad and a Kindle from his home.
In addition, his 51-year-old mother was charged with obstruction of justice.
In each case, police and schools have asked parents to discuss with their children the severity of making threats toward schools and the consequences.
VBCPS Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence issued the following statement Monday night:
After reports surfaced of a threat written in a bathroom stall at one of our high schools, we have seen an increase in these types of threats across the division. Virginia Beach City Public Schools takes these situations very seriously and has protocols in place for when these types of incidents arise. In each of the recent cases, risks were assessed by our team and the threats were investigated by VBPD. In three cases, students were apprehended, and appropriate disciplinary actions have been taken at the school level. In addition, all three students also are now facing multiple criminal charges. In each of the recent events, police found no evidence to substantiate the threats. We want to reiterate to parents that it’s important to speak to your
children about the significance of using their best judgment. Threats of any kind are not acceptable, and students will be held responsible for their actions. I want to thank the students and families who came forward with information and helped administration and police in their investigations. We take the safety of our schools very seriously. The division’s Office of Safe Schools works hand-in-hand with the Virginia Beach Police Department, Virginia Beach Office of Emergency Management, the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services as well as other state and national experts to continue to bring best practices and state of the art security resources to the division and ensure our schools are safe and welcoming places to learn.