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NEW: Police investigate incidents at two Arlington middle schools

Police on scene at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in June 2022 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A pair of incidents have prompted police investigations at two Arlington middle schools to start the week.

A student at Thomas Jefferson Middle School allegedly brought a weapon to school on Monday that turned out to be an airsoft gun. Police say they confiscated the airsoft gun and juvenile charges are pending.

From today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

CARRYING AIR GUN IN PUBLIC (late), 2023-02060183, 100 block of S. Old Glebe Road. At approximately 7:03 p.m. on February 6, police were dispatched to the late report of a brandishing. Upon arrival, it was determined at approximately 1:15 p.m., the juvenile suspect allegedly opened his backpack and exposed the handle of what was later determined to be an airsoft gun to several juveniles. No threats were made and the airsoft gun was not brandished during the incident. During the course of the investigation, officers identified the involved juvenile and recovered the airsoft gun. A petition is pending for violation of Arlington County Code § 13-8.

The following email was sent to Thomas Jefferson families.

Dear Jefferson Families:

This is to inform you that around 6:40 p.m. on Mon, Feb. 6, our administrative team was informed that a student had a gun during the last period of the school day. The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) was immediately made aware and confiscated an “airsoft gun” from a student. Information and support from our school community enabled us to quickly investigate and take immediate action. In addition, appropriate disciplinary action is being taken.

Students are reminded that bringing weapons of any kind into the school is against the law and will result in disciplinary action by the school as well as a referral to ACPD. Again, please be assured that we always take these incidents seriously. The safety of our students and staff is our top priority. […]

An incident at Dorothy Hamm Middle School, meanwhile, involved a threatening note “slipped under a teacher workroom door.”

Police do not believe the threat to be credible, according to an email sent to families this morning.

Dear DHMS Staff and Families,

Dorothy Hamm Middle School was informed of a threat of violence written on a piece of paper and slipped under a teacher workroom door. The threat was non-specific and did not include any information other than that something would happen today, Feb. 7.

The Department of Safety, Security, Risk and Emergency Management (SSREM) and the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) have been contacted, and while we do not believe the threat is credible, they are investigating. The school is operating as normal at this time, and all students and staff are safe.

As a precaution, there will be increased police presence at the school today. Any staff or students who have knowledge of this are asked to contact the school or Arlington County Police Department.

Students are reminded that making threats of any kind is unacceptable and in violation of the Student Code of Conduct and will result in disciplinary action by the school as well as a referral to law enforcement.

We appreciate the staff member who brought this to our attention and ask all members of our community to report any threats they may see or hear, whether they believe they are credible or not.

We will keep you updated if we receive new information. Thank you for working together to make our school safe. If you have any questions, please feel free to call the office at 703-228-2910.

Ellen Smith
Principal
Dorothy Hamm Middle School

It has been a busy couple of weeks for police at Arlington’s public schools, following a fatal suspected overdose and threats of potential gun violence at Wakefield High School last week, as well as other substance-abuse-related dispatches.

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