Arlington, VA

Barcroft Elementary School 2-19-14(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) Barcroft Elementary School was briefly locked down this morning after an incident involving a cafeteria worker.

Police say a cafeteria manager got into a verbal and physical altercation with school administrators around 11:15 a.m. The altercation moved to a cafeteria office — out of view of students — where the manager punched an assistant principal, threw water on him, and then brandished a knife in a threatening manner, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

Police were called to the school. Upon arrival, the suspect threatened officers, said she had a gun and then reached into a bag, Sternbeck said. The woman was tased by police. No gun was found, but she was in possession of the knife, Sternbeck said.

Paramedics evaluated the suspect and she was then transported to Virginia Hospital Center on a mental evaluation order. The assistant principal was not injured. So far the school system is not pressing charges.

“While we understand that many people would like to have additional details of this incident, it is considered a personnel matter, and we cannot divulge additional information,” Barcroft principal Colette Bounet said in a written statement. “I want to assure everyone that students are safe and were not affected by the occurrence.”

The school was locked down for about five minutes during the incident, according to Sternbeck.

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(Updated at 2:00 a.m.) Academy Award winning actor Jeff Bridges, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stopped by Barcroft Elementary School today to launch a statewide anti-childhood-hunger campaign.

Kids, teachers, school officials, politicians, photographers and reporters crammed into the school’s auditorium to watch the hour-long event, which was part press conference and part school assembly. Bridges, McDonnell and Vilsack were joined on stage by representatives from the Federation of Virginia Food Banks and the non-profit group Share Our Strength. Also on stage were a pair of wise-cracking vegetable puppets.

“I’m surprised that broccoli is here today,” said Vilsack, gesturing to one of the puppets in front of the youthful crowd. “I just had him for lunch.”

The campaign — dubbed No Kid Hungry — seeks to reduce childhood hunger nationwide by connecting kids and parents with existing (but sometimes hard to find) food assistance programs. Today’s event marked the start of the campaign in Virginia, where fewer than 20 percent of eligible children are enrolled in summer nutrition programs, according to a new report.

“It’s not acceptable and we need to do much, much better,” McDonnell said of childhood hunger in the state. “There’s plenty of money that’s in these programs at the federal government level… we just need your help, you young people, to tell your parents, tell your friends about the fact that these programs are available.”

Bridges says he became the national spokesperson for the No Kid Hungry campaign to help promote a “big picture” solution to childhood hunger.

“One in four kids are hungry in this country,” Bridges said. “It doesn’t have to be that way. We have enough food, we know how to end it… I feel it’s patriotic to care about the health of our kids.”

Asked about President Obama’s pledge to end childhood hunger by 2015, Bridges conceded that it would be tough to accomplish.

“It is kind of unlikely in a way, but it’s certainly not impossible,” he said. “But goals, the purpose of a goal, is to bring attention to something. So you might fail in achieving that goal, but if you don’t even set that goal, then you’re going to have to settle for the status quo.”

More photos after the jump.

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Actor Jeff Bridges, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Gov. Bob McDonnell will help launch a new statewide anti-hunger campaign at Barcroft Elementary School (625 S. Wakefield Street) next week.

The Academy Award winner is the national spokesperson for No Kid Hungry, a campaign that aims to “end childhood hunger in America by 2015.” The organization says they hope to do so by creating “public-private partnerships at the state level to break down barriers that prevent kids from accessing the food they need.”

The Barcroft event, which is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, is the launch of No Kid Hungry’s Virginia campaign. According to a press release, more than 218,000 kids in Virginia are facing hunger. The state campaign will specifically attempt to stamp out hunger this summer by increasing participation in food and nutrition programs like the Virginia Summer Meals for Kids Program.

Spearheaded by the anti-hunger group Share Our Strength, the Virginia No Kid Hungry campaign is receiving support from the Walmart Foundation, the Sodexho Foundation, Kaiser Permanente and Dominion Resources.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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