HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Multiple Hampton Roads high schools received bomb threats Monday morning, including several in Chesapeake.
The list includes Deep Creek, Indian River, Oscar Smith and Western Branch high schools in Chesapeake.
Deep Creek ended up cancelling classes for the rest of the day Monday morning after getting a second bomb threat in the past week. All afterschool activities were also canceled for the day. The school was searched, but nothing was found.
An anonymous caller contacted Deep Creek with the threat at 8:10 a.m. Monday morning and a statement about the incident was sent to parents at 9:45 a.m.
“Chesapeake Public Schools does not tolerate threats or acts of violence,” the statement reads. “Parents, we are asking for your help in talking with your student about the serious nature of making threats. Actual threats or jokes about threats will not be tolerated and will result in disciplinary actions and may be punishable by law.”
Deep Creek High also received a bomb threat via an anonymous phone call on Friday morning. The school was evacuated, but classes resumed after the building was cleared by authorities. Manor High in Portsmouth also dismissed early that day after a bomb threat was called in to their main office.
Granby High School in Norfolk received a threat Monday around 11:35 a.m. Police gave the all-clear there just after 1 p.m. Principal Tommy Smigiel sent two messages to parents. This is the one that went out after the all-clear:
In Portsmouth, Churchland High and Manor High School received threats Monday.
Churchland got a call later on Monday that said the school would dismiss at 1 p.m. out of an abundance of caution and to allow authorities time to search the building.
Manor High also decided to dismiss early after receiving another threat Monday. School officials said buses would be leaving campus beginning at 1:45 p.m.
All incidents are still being investigated by local police and school officials, but at the moment it’s still unclear who called in the threats.
WAVY News 10 reached out to the FBI to inquire if the agency had been asked to assist. We received this reply:
The FBI is aware of bomb threats made to schools in the Hampton Roads area today. It’s our policy not to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, but I can tell you that each and every potential threat brought to our attention is taken seriously and we regularly work with our law enforcement partners to determine each threat’s credibility.FBI Norfolk Field Office
Students have been arrested in connection to local bomb threats in the past year, including at Lakeland High in Suffolk this March and at Bruton High in York County, but there’s also been a wave of hoax bomb threat and active shooter threat calls made to schools nationwide, including in Virginia.
Two new investigations published by Wired and NPR on Monday detail how an individual or group, who are likely overseas, use Internet-based calling services to anonymously call in the hoax threats. The exact reason/motivation for the campaign of threats is still unknown, but experts say it’s clear there’s an overall goal to cause chaos and disrupt life in the U.S.
A state law enforcement agent suggested to WIRED that Russians could be involved, as Russia was allegedly behind thousands of fake bomb threats targeting schools and critical infrastructure in Ukraine before it invaded in February.
The threats have been straining local law enforcement agencies, but they are getting state and federal assistance. However things are still tricky even for federal agents. WIRED reports the FBI may be able to use more advanced techniques to track down the exact location of perpetrators, but arresting people overseas may not be possible.
If calls such as Monday’s in Hampton Roads are coming domestically, and even possibly from students, authorities are emphasizing that threatening to bomb is a felony.