Teen girl accused of threat after school lockdown

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 11:01 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2022 at 4:24 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - UPDATE: A 14-year-old girl is accused of a threat that led to one school lockdown in Roanoke Wednesday.

Roanoke Police have sought a petition for Threat by Writing or Electronic Message to Kill or do Harm, a felony, on the girl regarding threats made against William Fleming High School staff and students. The petition has been served and the girl will be taken to the Roanoke Valley Juvenile Center.

Police issued this statement to families:

Reminder to our Roanoke City Public Schools students -- your words have consequences. Things you say or text can hurt and scare others, and there can be serious repercussions. These are not funny jokes. If your words are alarming enough to rise to the attention of law enforcement, you could face misdemeanor and/or felony charges. These are consequences that will follow you for the rest of your life. Please remember to take a step back and think before you say something or send a message you might regret.

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

At Fleming, according to the school district, administrators learned of a potential threat on social media, and began working with Roanoke Police. The school was placed on lockdown about 10:30 a.m. as police and school administrators searched the building and deemed it all clear. The lockdown remained in effect through dismissal, which took place about 12:30 p.m.. The early release, according to the district, was 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 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 there is nobody allowed to come inside,” said Martinez. “That is why I just come here right away. Right now I am nervous. It’s my girl, you know. I pray to God everything is doing great.”

Wednesday afternoon, Patrick Henry High School received a phone call reporting a potential threat. The school was placed on lockdown about 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 hoax call to the school, part of a national trend called “swatting.” The lockdown was lifted at 2:40 p.m. and the school dismissed normally.

School officials report they are cooperating with these investigations, and say they are aware that misinformation was circulated online about what happened at William Fleming. The Roanoke Police Department has released a statement (see below) about that information being false.

School counselors are available for students in need of support or have questions regarding the lockdowns. The school district encourages families to check in with their students Wednesday night.

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 ongoing and there are many details we cannot share at this time, we do want to address some rumors that we have seen regarding this incident -- no weapons have been found on school property regarding this investigation, no injuries have been reported, and at this point we have not made any arrests for this offense.

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

The following is a robocall 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 hurt and we will keep you updated regularly. The Roanoke Police Department and school administrators are conducting a search of the building. We are asking parents to please stay where you are and do not come to the school. Again, please do not come to the school. Police will not allow anyone on campus until the lockdown is lifted. We will communicate more information as soon as we know it.”