Teenage girl accused of threatening after school closure

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – TO UPDATE: A 14-year-old girl is accused of a threat that led to a school closure in Roanoke on Wednesday.

The Roanoke Police Department has petitioned the girl for threats by letter or electronic message to kill or cause harm, a crime, for threats against staff and students at William Fleming High School. The petition has been served and the girl is being taken to the Roanoke Valley Juvenile Center.

The police issued this statement to the families:

Remembering our students at Roanoke City Public Schools – Your words have consequences. Things you say or write can hurt and frighten others, and the repercussions can be serious. These aren’t funny jokes. If your words are alarming enough to draw the attention of law enforcement, you could face misdemeanor and/or felony charges. These are consequences that will haunt you for the rest of your life. Please remember to step back and think before you say anything or send a message that you may regret.

ORIGINAL STORY: Lockdowns at William Fleming High School and Patrick Henry High School were lifted Wednesday after reported threats.

According to the Fleming School District, administrators learned of a potential threat on social media and began working with the Roanoke Police Department. The school went into lockdown around 10:30 am when police and school officials searched the building and thought everything was clear. The lockdown remained in place until the release, which took place around 12:30 p.m. The early release, according to the district, came because “Roanoke City public schools recognized this was a stressful event for students, staff and families.”

Parents rushed to pick up their children. Angel Martinez drove to William Fleming’s as soon as his 17-year-old daughter called him to say they were checking their book bags.

“And they told them to stay in the room. They locked the doors and no one is allowed in,” Martinez said. “That’s why I’m coming right here. I’m nervous at the moment. It’s my girl, you know. I pray to God that everything is going great.”

Patrick Henry High School received a call Wednesday afternoon reporting a potential threat. The school went on lockdown around 1:30 p.m. while the Roanoke Police Department and school administrators searched the building. Roanoke Police and federal law enforcement believe this was a prank call to the school, part of a national trend called “swatting.” The lockdown was lifted at 2:40 p.m. and the school was dismissed as normal.

School officials report that they are cooperating with this investigation and are aware that misinformation has been circulating online about what happened at William Fleming’s. The Roanoke Police Department has released a statement (see below) that this information is incorrect.

School counselors are available to students who need support or have questions about the lockdowns. The school district encourages families to check in with their students on Wednesday evenings.

Lockdown at William Fleming High School...9.21.22
Lockdown at William Fleming High School…9.21.22(WDBJ)

Police released this statement about the Fleming incident:

While this investigation is still ongoing and there are many details that we are unable to share at this time, we would like to address some rumors that we have seen regarding this incident – no weapons were found on school premises related to this investigation, it no injuries were reported and at this time we have not made any arrests for this offence.

The Roanoke Police Department takes the safety of all students and staff at the Roanoke City Public School seriously, and we will continue to work with our public safety partners on this issue. No further updates are available at this time and this remains an ongoing investigation.

The following is an automated call sent to families regarding the Fleming incident:

“Good Morning. This is an emergency message from Roanoke City Public Schools. William Fleming High School is currently on lockdown due to a potential threat. Students are currently with their teachers. No one is injured and we will keep you updated. The Roanoke Police Department and school officials are conducting a search of the building. We are asking parents to remain where you are and not come to the school. Again, please do not come to the school. Police will not search anyone Leave campus until lockdown is lifted. We will share more information as soon as we know it.”

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