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Threat scrawled in girls’ bathroom prompts investigation at Gunston MS

Gunston Middle School (file photo)

Gunston Middle School students returned to class today after a police investigation yesterday afternoon.

Arlington County police were dispatched to the school around 3:30 p.m. Thursday for a report of threatening graffiti. A subsequent email to families from the school’s principal said someone wrote “Im going to shoot up the dumb ass school” in a girls’ bathroom stall.

“While we do not believe this to be a credible threat, the investigation is ongoing,” Principal Carolyn R. Jackson wrote.

Arlington public schools have faced a number of gun-related threats in 2023.

In March, Gunston was put in lockdown after “a message written inside a restroom stall referencing gun violence” was discovered, prompting a significant police response. In May, a Kenmore Middle School student was charged after an implied shooting threat was posted on social media. In September a man was arrested outside Washington-Liberty High School after allegedly threatening a shooting during after-school student activities on the field.

The email sent to Gunston families Thursday afternoon is below.

Dear Gunston Families,

Gunston Administration was informed of a threat of violence written in a girl’s bathroom stall. The specific threat was written in pencil and barely legible, stating, “Im going to shoot up the dumb ass school”.

The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) and Safety, Security, and Emergency Management (SSEM) were immediately made aware of the threat and are investigating the situation. Any students who know of this are asked to contact the school.

While we do not believe this to be a credible threat, the investigation is ongoing. Students are reminded that making threats, regardless of credibility, is unacceptable and in violation of the Student Code of Conduct and will result in disciplinary action by the school and a referral to law enforcement.

We appreciate the student who brought this to our attention and ask all community members to report any threats they may see or hear, whether they believe they are credible or not. We also need to remind everyone that spreading rumors among classmates or on social media that have not been verified can create unnecessary stress for students.

We always take threats of violence of any kind very seriously.

Our top priority is the safety of our students and staff, and I want to thank the Gunston community for your support and responsiveness. If you hear or see something that concerns you, please let me or a staff member know immediately.

Thank you for working together to make our school safe.

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