Police increase presence at schools after potential threat

Published 7:05 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2022

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The Southampton County Sheriff’s Office had an increased presence at Southampton Middle School and Southampton High School on March 14 and 15 after concerns were raised the week prior about a potential threat of violence.

Gwendolyn P. Shannon

A letter to parents from Southampton County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gwendolyn P. Shannon provided some background information on the situation, noting that a school administrator was made aware after school hours on Friday, March 11, of an alleged plan of a middle school student to carry out a potential threat the next week. 

Shannon stated that the middle school student allegedly informed another student that he planned to carry out an act of violence on school property on March 15.

The administrator reached out to the parents of the student as well as the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office, the letter noted, adding that the sheriff’s office engaged in a home visit and the student’s parents took the necessary course of action to have their child evaluated by mental health professionals. 

“A threat risk assessment was also performed,” Shannon wrote. “The child was cleared to return to school but will not be doing so due to a pending disciplinary matter.”

She stated that it was confirmed March 14 that the child in question was not on school property.

Maj. Camden S. Cobb, of the sheriff’s office, stated that the sheriff’s office and Virginia State Police provided additional units at the middle school and the high school on the morning of March 14 as an extra precaution.  

He added that additional sheriff’s office units were at both schools the morning of March 15 as well. There were no reported incidents.

“Investigators with the sheriff’s office will continue to work with school officials and other agencies to determine if further action is appropriate,” he stated.