Three juveniles — two of whom are local — are facing charges in connection with online threats made against two Albemarle high schools.
The charges stem from online threats made against Western Albemarle High School on Nov. 18 and Albemarle High School on Nov. 3, according to a news release from the Albemarle County Police Department.
“While these threats were not considered credible, our department takes seriously a threat on any school,” ACPD said in a news release.
In the case of the Western threat, one individual from the area was charged with making threats of death or bodily injury to a person or member of their family, to persons on school property or to health care providers. Under state code, that’s a class 6 felony.
In the case of the AHS threat, two individuals, one of whom is from out of state, were charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, and one of the individuals was charged with making threats of death or bodily injury to a person or member of their family, to persons on school property or to health care providers.
The police department did not provide any more information about the children facing charges.
The police department is actively investigating several threats involving schools, including one at Burley Middle School reported Monday.
Meanwhile, Buckingham County students will be learning virtually for the rest of the week after the school division received a threat sent via social media. Virginia State Police have determined the threat was not credible and didn’t originate in Buckingham County. However, the school system is putting several security measures in place out of an abundance of caution, according to a letter from schools Superintendent John Keeler. Those measures include the use of metal detectors for random searchers of students, more adult supervision during class changes and one entry and one exit point at each building.
The Albemarle County police department provided a list of online and social media tips in its news release and encouraged families to review them.
“Young people believe that there is a certain amount of anonymity online and with certain internet-based apps,” ACPD wrote. “While this is somewhat true, the internet and apps that use the internet are not completely private. Some may think that school threats are funny, but the community and police do not. Those who make these posts will be held accountable and there will be criminal consequences.”
If a student sees a threat online, ACPD said they should immediately notify a school administrator and the police and not share it. The police will work with the school to develop a plan of action.
Other tips include:
Monitor your child’s phone, computer, and online accounts regularly.
Your child should not have a phone, computer, or online account that you do not have access to.
Have a conversation with your child about the use of their phone during school.
Phones at school should only be used in an emergency and should otherwise remain in a backpack or pocket.