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Student likely to face Class 6 felony charges

SoVaNow.com / February 21, 2018
A student at Bluestone High School in Skipwith will most likely be charged with a Class 6 felony after allegedly posting threats on social media Friday about a shooting that would take place at the school.

The freshman claimed that people would be shot at 12:45 p.m., Feb. 16, according to sources at the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.

He was taken into police custody Friday morning, but police are not saying where or if he is being held pending a court appearance.

By mid-afternoon Friday, the Sheriff’s Office issued a statement refuting accounts that a gun had been found at Bluestone High School. Such accounts came from students at the school who said they witnessed police searching through the suspect’s locker. The Sheriff’s Office said the search yielded no sign of a gun.

“There was no weapon found at the school or on the juvenile,” according to the MCSO statement.

Bluestone notified parents of the incident at approximately 10:40 a.m. through their automatic call system. At about the same time, BHS Principal Darnell Carter posted a message to the school’s Facebook page reassuring parents that the campus was safe and there would be a continued presence by law enforcement throughout the day. He thanked the school community for their vigilance.

By then, the unnamed student was already in custody.

Superintendent of Schools Paul Nichols said officers quickly determined that the threat lacked credibility and that is why the school was not on lock down at any point. Still deputies remained on campus throughout the day and conducted a thorough search of the school. Nichols thanked the parents for their diligence in bringing the alleged threat to the attention of school officials and the police for the quick response.

MCSO Major Terry Edmonds said the juvenile petition detailing criminal charges is still pending in court, but he expects the student to be charged with communicating a threat to do bodily harm injury or kill a person on the grounds or premises of any elementary, middle or secondary school property which under Virginia law is a Class 6 felony.

Sheriff Bobby Hawkins said, “We take these matters seriously and take all precautions to make certain our schools and students are safe.”

This was not the first threat of violence involving students in Mecklenburg County in the past 12 months. Earlier this month, a basketball game at Park View High School was closed to the public when rumors circulated about a possible threat. In October, a football game between Brunswick High School and Park View High School was cancelled after a student from Brunswick made death threats against several football players on both teams.

One concerned Bluestone High School parent, Leslie Wood, attended the School Board meeting on Monday night to seek assurances that the child who allegedly made the threat would not be allowed to return to school.

Nichols said that the School Board was not in a position to make that promise, for now. Currently, the case is a criminal matter that is being handled by law enforcement, he explained. Only after the case works its way through the court system will the School Board have an opportunity to decide whether the student will be allowed to attend a school here in the division. Nichols did promise to give the case a full review at the appropriate time.

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