Smithfield student arrested for threatening post

Published 3:48 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Smithfield High School student was arrested on Tuesday for having made a threatening statement against a school on social media. This was announced that afternoon by Lt. Tommy Potter, spokesman for the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office. He said the county’s school administration was contacted about this matter and helped the department.

After being identified by investigators and charged with a class 5 felony, the suspect was sent to Chesapeake Juvenile Services and he’ll have a detention hearing at a later date.

“It is important to note that while this student made a threat against a local school, a thorough investigation didn’t uncover any means to actually carry out the threat,” Potter stated.

Further, the spokesman said all schools will get more law enforcement personnel for the near foreseeable future.

Potter stressed, “At this time, no additional credible threats are being investigated and the presence of these deputies is meant to reassure our IWCS family.”

He added, “The Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office and the Isle of Wight County School Administration are committed to thoroughly investigate and assist the Commonwealth Attorney’s office in the prosecution of anyone making such threats.”

This incident comes two days after a violent online threat was made against the black population of Southampton High School. A suspect in that case was arrested on Tuesday morning. That person is a 16-year-old student at Southampton High. She was arrested and charged with felony threats to commit serious bodily harm to person on school property. Neither of those incidents are apparently related to one another, nor do they appear to be connected with similar threats at schools in the Greater Hampton Roads region.

In a separate statement to media, school division spokeswoman Lynn Briggs confirmed Potter’s announcement. She also said, “The incident will be handled by the division as a student disciplinary matter. While we are unable to comment about specific disciplinary action for this student, Isle of Wight County Schools will treat any and all threats against the safety of our students and staff with the highest priority.

“IWCS encourages students, parents and community members to tell an official when comments, behaviors or actions from individuals appear to be distressing or alarming and indicate a desire to do harm to others. We must all do our part to be vigilant when it comes to protecting our schools from harm.”