ROANOKE COUNTY (WSLS 10) - The Roanoke County School Superintendent, Dr. Greg Killough released a letter Sunday addressing extra security efforts after multiple threats across the school division in recent weeks. It was sent to more than 18,000 parents and staff members.
Two students are currently facing felony charges for making threats and Roanoke County is still trying to find the people responsible for the other threats. The letter is meant as a way to help the entire school community move back to a sense of normalcy, prevent future threats and catch those responsible.
The letter says:
"Over the past few weeks, like at other schools around the nation, we have been dealing with a few students making threats to disrupt our schools. These few students do not represent our student body. I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about this problem, what we're doing to make our schools safer and how you can help us to end these threats.
First, as you may have heard, the Roanoke County Police Department has just issued felony charges against two of our students for making threats against our schools. A felony is a very serious charge that will stick with someone for the rest of his or her life. Someone convicted of a felony may be spending time at a detention center - not getting into college, and this would radically impact his or her future job opportunities.
We take all threats very seriously because our top priority is the safety of your children. When someone makes a threat we are going to act quickly to make sure our schools are safe and secure. We work together with the police to find the person responsible and take appropriate disciplinary and criminal action.
We have stepped up our internal security and we are more closely monitoring our students, especially when they are in the hallways and entering the bathrooms. While I understand that these new measures are an inconvenience to some students, we are going to do what we need to in order to continue to help our students feel safe. We want our parents to be as informed as possible when there is an emergency situation and we are continually working to improve our communication processes.
These threats have seriously disrupted our schools. Class time has been lost, opportunities for learning have been lost. We are asking for parents and students to help us move beyond the disruptive actions of a few. We have the best schools in the region and these actions are causing unnecessary stress. I urge anyone with any information about these threats to speak with a school administrator or the Roanoke County Police.
I want to thank our administrators for being proactive and putting into place additional safety measures. I also want express my sincere thanks to our staff for their professionalism in handling these disruptive actions. We all look forward to the final weeks of school and to celebrating the success of our all our students, especially our seniors as they graduate in June.
Finally, I want to again stress that our schools are safe. If you have questions or concerns, please contact us. Thank you for your time and I look forward to a successful remainder of the school year."
There are two school meetings planned.
Vinton District school board member Tim Greenway has scheduled a community meeting for Tuesday, April 26 at 7 p.m. at William Byrd High School. Additionally, Catawba school board member Tom McCracken has scheduled a community meeting for Monday, May 2 at Northside High School at 7 p.m. These meetings will be an opportunity for the community to ask questions about the recent threats made to each school community.