(Updated at 12:10 p.m.) A student at Kenmore Middle School is facing charges after an alleged threat.
The student posted a photo of a gun and the words “wait until tomorrow” in a group chat, according to an email from school administration.
The incident was reported Thursday morning. A police investigation “did not reveal an ongoing threat to the community” but the student is still facing potential criminal charges and disciplinary action by the school, according to Arlington County police.
THREATS (Significant), 2023-05040050, 200 block of S. Carlin Springs Road. At approximately 7:56 a.m. on May 4, police were dispatched to the report of threats. Upon arrival, it was determined a juvenile posted threats involving a firearm to a social media group chat. The involved juvenile was identified and the investigation did not reveal an ongoing threat to the community. A petition for Threats was obtained for the juvenile.
Previously, threats found inside the school — and a student with an airsoft gun — prompted a police presence at Kenmore in November 2021.
Kenmore families were told of the threat in a School Talk email from Principal David McBride, below.
“We always take threats of violence of any kind very seriously,” McBride said, while noting that “ normal school operations were not interrupted.”
Dear Kenmore families:
We were informed this morning of a social media threat involving a photo of a gun and the words “Wait until tomorrow.”
The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) and APS Safety, Security, Emergency and Risk Management were immediately made aware of the threat, and they are investigating the situation.
The student involved has been identified and the ongoing investigation has not revealed a credible threat to the safety of the school community. ACPD is seeking criminal charges. 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 as well as a referral to law enforcement.
We ask all members of our community 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. We will keep you updated if we receive new information.
The safety of our students and staff is our top priority and I want to thank the Kenmore community for your support and responsiveness, and if you hear or see something that concerns you, please let me or a member of our staff know immediately. Normal school operations were not interrupted.
Thank you for working together to make our school safe. If you have any questions, please feel free to call the office at…
(Updated at 8:40 p.m.) Gunston Middle School was locked down this afternoon due to a threat.
Arlington County police said the discovery of a “written threat” prompted the lockdown and investigation. The exact nature of the threat was not given.
The school at 2700 S. Lang Street had a “controlled dismissal,” assisted by police, according to ACPD.
The department issued the following press release about the incident Friday evening.
The Arlington County Police Department is investigating a written threat at Gunston Middle School, located at 2700 S. Lang Street.
At approximately 1:07 p.m. on March 10, police were dispatched to the report of a threat after school administration located a message written inside a restroom stall referencing gun violence. Prior to police arrival, the school was placed on lockdown. The investigation did not reveal an active threat to the safety of students or staff. Police assisted with a controlled dismissal of students and the lockdown was lifted. No injuries were reported during the incident.
This remains an active investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
POLICE ACTIVITY: ACPD is investigating a written threat located at Gunston Middle School. No injuries have been reported. Police remain on scene investigating. https://t.co/6q15T6Fdjm
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) March 10, 2023
UPDATE: Police are assisting with a controlled dismissal of Gunston Middle School. Parents should refer to @APSVirginia email for additional information regarding dismissal.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) March 10, 2023
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.
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.
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
(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) The H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program in Rosslyn was put in “secure the building” mode after reports of a shooting threat phoned in to the school.
Police were first dispatched to the school at 1601 Wilson Blvd around 3 p.m.
Around 3:45 p.m. Arlington Public Schools said via social media that “all students and staff are safe at this time” but the school was still secured. About 35 minutes later, the school said that students had been safely dismissed.
“Responding officers have not located evidence of a crime inside the school and no injuries have been reported,” Arlington County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow just before 4 p.m. “Police remain on scene investigating and will assist with dismissal.”
Students have been dismissed. A follow up to families is going out shortly. https://t.co/8xZ9jHHPMc
— Arlington Public Schools (@APSVirginia) December 16, 2022
The anonymous threat might be a case of “swatting.” Arlington County is asking the Virginia legislature to strengthen laws against such false threats, particularly those called in to third parties like schools and then reported to police.
Today was the last day of school before winter break for APS students.
Gunston Middle School’s eighth grade dance, planned for tonight, has been cancelled due to threats.
In a message to families sent around 12:30 p.m. today, Gunston Principal Dr. Lori Wiggins said that the decision was made as a result of “possible messages circulating in the community referencing individuals interrupting and potentially causing violence” at the dance.
That comes after a two-week stretch that has seen a spate of mass shootings nationwide, including the shooting at a Texas elementary school that killed 19 students and 2 teachers.
The email to families is below.
Greetings Gunston Eighth-Grade Families:
The Arlington County Police Department received information regarding possible messages circulating in the community referencing individuals interrupting and potentially causing violence at tonight’s eighth-grade dance. Based on the information available to us at this time, the decision was made to cancel tonight’s dance out of an abundance of caution. I write this with a heavy heart, as I know that our students were looking forward to this event. While this is a difficult decision, the safety of our students and staff is my top priority.
At this time, the threat is isolated to the dance. APS continues to work with the ACPD to address the information pertaining to this threat and will put additional resources in place as needed. We will share more specifics with students on Monday about refunds for tickets purchased to the dance. I created a video message for students about the decision to cancel that was shared during TA. I know that students will be upset with this decision, but again, it was made out of an abundance of caution. I am upset with the situation. But your child’s safety is the priority.
I want to thank the individuals that shared this information. Please remind and stress the importance to your children that if they hear or see something to talk to a trusted adult.
Update at 12:25 p.m. — The all clear was given, police told ARLnow around 11 a.m. “The school had elected to evacuate out of an abundance of caution. The all clear has since been given and officers are returning to service,” an ACPD spokeswoman said.
Earlier: The Children’s School, a preschool for the employees of Arlington Public Schools, has been evacuated after a threat.
Numerous police vehicles are on scene near the school, located inside an office building on the 4400 block of Fairfax Drive in Ballston.
“Police are investigating the credibility of a telephone threat,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow.
Savage was not able to elaborate on the nature of the investigation, nor the location to which students in the school were evacuated. The initial police dispatch suggested that person who called in the threat sounded like a teenager.
A permanent location for The Children’s School is currently under construction along Langston Blvd.
Update at 4:15 p.m. on 2/11/22 — Arlington police have released more information about the threat. Police say an anonymous caller claimed to be armed with hostages inside one of the Yorktown High School bathroom, in what was later determined to be a false report. From ACPD:
The Arlington County Police Department continues to investigate a telephone threat to Yorktown High School. At approximately 1:26 p.m. on February 10, police were dispatched to the 5200 block of Yorktown Boulevard for the report of a threat. The reporting party advised dispatch that the Main Office had received an anonymous call from the suspect who was alleging to be a student and making threats to ‘shoot up’ the school. The school was placed on lockdown as police responded to investigate the credibility of the threat.
Upon arrival, officers made telephone contact with the suspect who reported he was armed, had taken two hostages inside a bathroom in the school and was making threats to harm them. A perimeter was established and officers searched the school’s bathrooms and found no evidence of the suspect’s claims. Officers then completed a cautionary search of the school and evacuated students who were transported by bus to a nearby location for parent reunification. No injuries were reported and no evidence of a crime was located inside the school.
“Yesterday’s response highlights how seriously the Arlington County Police Department takes reports of potential violence within our community,” said Chief Andy Penn. “I commend our officers and public safety partners on their immediate and coordinated response to ensure the safety of our community. I recognize incidents involving threats have significant impacts on the wellbeing of all involved. I want to thank the Yorktown High School students, staff, parents and community members for their patience and support during yesterday’s incident. We will continue to work collaboratively with Arlington Public Schools to ensure the safety of students and staff.”
During the course of the investigation, officers determined the call originated from out of state and there was no credible threat to the safety and security of the students or staff. This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information that may assist with the investigation is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Earlier: A threat of violence prompted a lockdown, evacuations and a massive police response in and around Yorktown High School this afternoon.
As of 5:15 p.m. road closures were being lifted and police said they had completed clearing the school. “No evidence of a crime was located at the school,” ACPD said.
Remaining students will be brought to the Knights of Columbus for reunification. (2/2)
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) February 10, 2022
Police were first dispatched to the school around 1:45 p.m.
“YHS is on lockdown while ACPD investigate[s] an anonymous threat,” Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia told ARLnow at the time.
Arlington County police set up an incident command center outside of the school as dozens of emergency personnel started arriving. There was no report of any actual violence, though police investigated an unconfirmed report of a gun being found inside a bathroom.
“All students and staff are safe,” Yorktown families were told in a brief email early on.
An officer with a gun drawn inside the school could be seen in a photo shared with ARLnow. Numerous officers with rifles and tactical gear were seen entering the school. The incident was coordinated on ACPD’s encrypted radio channels.
Parents, some of whom gathered outside the school shortly after police arrived, were told to gather at the nearby Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road) to pick up their kids. Groups of students could be seen being led to the complex by police. Buses were brought in for students who usually take APS transportation.
Streets around the school were shut down, and the large response prompted police to re-prioritize some calls for minor issues while the fire department requested help filling fire stations, according to scanner traffic. Arlington firefighters and medics were dispatched to the school for a possible medical emergency and also to stage personnel at both the school and the Knights of Columbus, in case of injuries or other medical emergencies.
There will be a police presence at Kenmore Middle School on Friday after two separate incidents yesterday.
The school told parents Wednesday afternoon that threatening graffiti with the statement that “I’m gonna shot this school on Friday 11/5/21” was discovered in the 8th grade boys’ bathroom earlier that morning.
“While we do not believe this to be a credible threat, the investigation is ongoing,” the school’s principal wrote.
Additionally, last night parents were informed of a separate incident that day, in which a student showed another student an airsoft gun in a school bathroom.
“The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) was immediately made aware, made contact with the student and took possession of the antique ‘airsoft gun’ and appropriate disciplinary action is being taken,” wrote principal David McBride.
“There is no change to our schedule for Fri, Nov. 5, as a result of the threat; however, as a precaution, there will be a police presence at the school on Friday,” McBride wrote.
Arlington Public Schools students have the day off today for Diwali as part of a three-day week that also saw Tuesday off for Election Day.
Friday’s police presence at Kenmore, located at 200 S. Carlin Springs Road, comes as APS charts a path forward for its relationship with the police department, after voting to remove School Resource Officers from school grounds earlier this year.
The full emails from the Kenmore principal are below.
A 40-year-old man has been arrested in connection to an incident in which a Wakefield High School student allegedly made threats of violence.
As first reported by ARLnow, Wakefield was placed in “secure the school mode” late Tuesday morning after a student — who was reportedly wearing a bulletproof vest — made threats during an altercation that happened off school property, according to Arlington County police. Officers swarmed the area around the school, located the student and detained him.
This morning ACPD announced charges against a man they say was driving the car the student was riding in just before he was detained. Michael Davis, 40, is facing weapons charges after a gun was found in the car, police say.
Davis, an Arlington resident, previously pleaded guilty to drug and other charges nearly two decades ago. He is also facing trial this summer on drug and weapons charges after being arrested last year, according to court records. He’s due in court on the new charges on July 1.
More from an ACPD press release, below.
An Arlington man is facing charges of weapons violations following an investigation into reported threats near Wakefield High School. Michael Davis, 40, is charged with Carrying a Concealed Weapon and Convicted Felon in Possession of a Firearm. He is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility without bond.
Just prior to 11:45 a.m. on May 11, the School Resource Officer (SRO) Supervisor received a call from a staff member at Wakefield High School regarding a student who had been involved in a physical altercation off school property with several other individuals. The student was allegedly wearing what was described as a bulletproof vest and, upon leaving the scene, made a statement to bystanders implying threats of violence.
The student [returned] to the area and was reportedly observed traveling in a vehicle near the school. The SRO Supervisor coordinated a police response and officers located the student outside of the parked vehicle in the area of S. Frederick Street and S. George Mason Drive. The student and the two occupants of the vehicle were detained without incident. In plain view inside the vehicle, officers observed a ballistic vest carrier. During a search of the vehicle, a firearm was recovered from under the driver’s seat. The driver was arrested and charged.
For the safety of students and staff, Wakefield High School was placed on “secure the building status” while police investigated the circumstances of this incident.
This remains an active investigation. Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Lt. E. Pilco of the School Resource Officers Unit at [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
A student allegedly made threats that led to Wakefield High School being placed in “secure the school mode” this morning.
The incident happened shortly before noon, prompting a large police response. It involved a student who was reportedly wearing a bulletproof or similar style vest.
“Just prior to 11:45 a.m., the School Resource Officer Supervisor received a call from a staff member at Wakefield High School regarding a student who had been involved in a physical altercation off school property,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “The student allegedly retrieved what was described as a bulletproof vest and made verbal threats.”
Multiple police units then started responding to the school and looking for the student.
“The SRO Supervisor coordinated a police response and officers located the student, who was a passenger in a vehicle, traveling in the area of S. Frederick Street and S. George Mason Drive and conducted a traffic stop,” Savage said. “The student was detained without incident. As a result of the incident, Wakefield High School was placed on secure the building which has since been lifted. The investigation is ongoing at this time.”
Arlington Public Schools is currently considering changes to its School Resource Officer program. A work group is expected to make recommendations to the School Board next month.
Jo DeVoe contributed to this report