VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach school officials say a threat made by a student on Friday against Independence Middle School was unsubstantiated, meaning the student did not have the means to carry out the threat.
Virginia Beach City Public Schools sent two messages to families about the incident on Saturday and Sunday. School officials confirmed both messages sent to the campus community were about the same threat.
In the first message, Independence Middle School Principal Kenneth Vaughan said a student made a threat. After a police investigation, the threat was deemed to be unsubstantiated.
However, the principal said the student would be disciplined “in accordance with the school division’s code of conduct.”
“Even though police found no evidence to support the threat, I wanted to make you aware because just hearing such language can understandably upset students. I ask that you use this as a way to remind your children that threats of any kind are not acceptable and will lead to real consequences,” the principal said.
The principal also asked parents to discuss digital responsibility with their students and “remind them to think before they post a message.”
Virginia Beach Police confirmed the threats that were found to be unsubstantiated in a follow-up with 10 On Your Side.
On Sunday, the school sent out another communication with families saying that a video had appeared on social media showing a person with a gun and text indicated the individual planned to do harm at Independence Middle School. School officials said both communications are about the same threat.
That video was being investigated by police, but school officials assured families that appropriate disciplinary action had been taken against the student, who would not be returning to the middle school.
The division planned to have extra police presence at the school this week, as well.
The principal continued: “I understand that just seeing images like these can be upsetting. We appreciate the students, families and community members who have reached out to us on this matter. Please know we take all threats very seriously and that all new information has been reported to VBPD and investigated. I’d ask you again to talk with your child about the role they play in school safety. If they hear something concerning, they should report it immediately to police or an adult and not perpetuate the rumor through social media or gossip.”
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