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Police up patrols around Wakefield HS as classes resume but social media threat rumors circulate

Police presence at Wakefield High School Thursday afternoon (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Wakefield High School is back open, with heavy hearts and extra vigilance.

Last week a student died in the hospital two days after an apparent overdose in a school bathroom. This is the first day of school since his passing.

The school was also locked down Thursday and then closed Friday due to a potentially armed trespasser who was reported to be seeking out a specific student as part of an ongoing dispute, leading to an arrest.

Arlington County police have increased patrols around the school today, with an extra focus on arrival and dismissal times, according to an email to families obtained by ARLnow. That’s in response to rumors of new threats against students circulating on social media.

Parents tell us that the rumors have students worried about a shooting at the school. They say that the trespassing stemmed from a dispute between two gangs and may be related to a recent shooting in Arlington.

“I am not sending my student to school today,” one parent told us this morning.

Another parent, however, noted that the apparent social media threat could also be interpreted simply as a reference to a music video.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the ACPD will provide increased patrols around Wakefield [Monday] including at arrival and dismissal,” Wakefield principal Chris Willmore said in the email to families. “The safety and security of our students and staff is our priority and we will keep you informed of any developments as we are able.”

No marked police units were spotted around the school as of 9:30 a.m., according to ARLnow staff photographer Jay Westcott.

Police have only described the events leading to the trespassing as “an ongoing dispute” between the suspect and a “juvenile victim.”

The full email to families is below.

Dear Wakefield Families:

We are aware of concerning social media posts circulating. The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) and APS Safety and Security staff have been alerted and are investigating. Out of an abundance of caution, the ACPD will provide increased patrols around Wakefield tomorrow including at arrival and dismissal. The safety and security of our students and staff is our priority and we will keep you informed of any developments as we are able.

I understand this continues to pose a significant strain on our wellbeing as a community. We will have additional counseling support available tomorrow and will structure our day to incorporate community circle opportunities for students to share their thoughts and feelings if they need assistance.

If your student needs to speak with their counselor, please reach out to the Wakefield counseling office […]


Dr. Chris Willmore

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