Community reacts to Montgomery County School Board third-party investigation

‘I feel grateful the school board and superintendent heard us as a community.’

BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Montgomery County School Board is launching a third-party investigation into the deaths of two high schoolers back in November.

The third-party investigator will look into the circumstances of the apparent murder-suicide of Serenity Hawley and Croney Monk.

“I hope that the knowledge gained will help us understand what happened and I hope that that knowledge will help us heal,” said Wendy Eckenrod-Green, a Blacksburg parent and creator of a petition asking for transparency from the school system.

Recently, the school board placed the principal of Blacksburg High School on leave, but Blacksburg High School students held a protest at the Montgomery County School Board meeting to bring back their principal.

“They showed up yesterday evening with posters that were really profound to demonstrate their admiration, and [to show] how safe they feel with him in the school system,” Eckenrod-Green said.

Eckenrod-Green said the goal of the petition was not to have the principal put on leave, but to get answers to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.

“I hope that all the individuals who had decision-making authority over the well-being of Croney and Serenity fully cooperate with the investigation,” Eckenrod-Green said.

She said Blacksburg is a small community and this tragedy continues to impact them every day.

“There were two students involved who had, friends, family members, and siblings,” said Eckenrod-Green. “Her friends, and I am sure Croney’s friends, are grieving significantly. They’re struggling.”

We reached out to the Hawley family for comment on the investigation and while they did not wish to do an interview, they told 10 News they support the third-party investigation.

They said if policies were in place to prevent the tragedy and were not used, they need to know why. They also said they do not believe the principal should be on leave due to his brief time in charge before the event.

About the Author:

Thomas grew up right here in Roanoke and is a graduate of Salem High School and Virginia Tech.