Roanoke school officials, law enforcement release video message in response to school threats

Scroll down to watch the full message

Roanoke city school officials and law enforcement release video statement after numerous threats. From left to right: Joyce Watkins, Vice Chair of the Roanoke City School Board; Verletta White, Superintendent of Roanoke City Public Schools; Sam Roman, chief of Roanoke City Police; Col. Ferguson from the Roanoke Sheriff's Office (Credit: Roanoke City Public Schools). (WSLS)

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke city officials have released a video message in response to “an unprecedented amount of threats towards school staff and students.”

This message comes after Patrick Henry and William Fleming high schools were both placed on lockdown on Wednesday. A 14-year-old has been charged with a felony in connection with the lockdown at William Fleming. Lucy Addison Middle School was also under a hold and secure status on Thursday afternoon.

The video message features Roanoke Police Chief Sam Roman, Roanoke City Public Schools superintendent Verletta White, Col. James ”Chuck” Ferguson from the Roanoke Sheriff’s Office, and vice chair of the Roanoke City School Board, Joyce Watkins.

“Apparently this is a game to some students. We cannot continue to do what we’ve been doing and expect a different result. Therefore we need to change,” White continued.

In the message, White went on to say that their options could include canceling homecoming, sports, and extracurriculars or adding days onto the school year in response to the disruptions should they continue.

“Students I want you to know that if these threats continue we are out of options and your extracurricular activities are in jeopardy,” White said.

Roman also had a message for students: threats will not be tolerated.

Roman also asked parents and guardians to talk to their students and help them understand how serious their words can be in order to work together and keep students and staff safe.

“This is a tremendous strain on our resources and personnel, but it’s a challenge we’re willing to take on to protect our Roanoke City Public Schools family,” said Roman in the message. “We are, and will continue to be, present in the schools, and we will continue to investigate these situations to the fullest extent, place charges when appropriate, and do all we can to keep our students and our staff safe as they learn and educate.”

You can watch the full message below:

About the Author:

Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a content producer in July 2018.