Police investigate bomb threats at Hanover schools

By Deon Guillory - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

ASHLAND, VA (WWBT) - Hanover County schools are on high alert after bomb threats at several schools this week. Police say they are taking the threats very seriously.

There's been an increased police presence at Patrick Henry High School after a bomb threat. Parents and students said they are afraid.

According to the Hanover Sheriff's Office, the following incidents are currently under investigation:

  • March 22 Custodian reported threat written on bathroom stall at Atlee High School.
  • March 23 Student reported threat written on bathroom stall at Patrick Henry High School.
  • March 24 Threatening note dropped in student's locker at Liberty Middle School. A 12- year-old student has been charged with writing the note. The threat was not credible.
  • March 25 Student reported threat written on bathroom stall at Chickahominy Middle School
  • March 24/25 Students and parents reporting threatening language posted on social networking sites.

While there exists no evidence that any of these threats are credible, the Sheriff's Office has been working with Hanover Schools, Hanover Fire, and other public safety agencies to take the measures necessary to ensure a safe learning environment. These steps have included physical sweeps of the schools, K-9 sweeps of the schools, additional law enforcement presence at the schools, additional monitoring by school personnel, conducting targeted interviews of students, and working with social networking sites to identify those responsible for threatening language.

Making threats to bomb is a felony and those found responsible for these threats will be charged. In the cases involving social networking threats, those individuals can also be held accountable in Hanover County, even if the threats did not originate here. Actions such as these result in considerable deployment of public safety resources, disruption of the school environment, and anxiety among students and parents. The Sheriff's Office remains committed to identifying those responsible for these threats.

Students reported it to class Friday morning at Patrick Henry just like any other other day, but many of the desks inside are empty.

Some students too afraid to make it to school after reports of a bomb threat.

"I don't want to be at school when it happens," said Kelly Nodan, a sophomore at Patrick Henry. She says these bombs threats are a serious matter. "I was just nervous. I was really nervous. I don't think it's something to joke about."

Kelly's mom, Debbie Hamman feels the same way. "I'm sad it's come to this."

Police say there were three reports of bomb threats at Hanover schools this week. We're told someone wrote a threat on a bathroom stall at Patrick Henry. The same thing happened Thursday at Atlee.

And now an 11-year-old is facing charges after police say he dropped a note about a bomb into a locker at Liberty Middle School.

"They need to be responsible for their actions and whether they're expelled or do some sort of community service or go to jail for this. It needs to stop now," Hamman said.

Police say there have been more officers on campus to look around for any clues. They have also used dogs to canvas the campus before students got there.

We have gotten several calls from parents about possible bomb threats at other Hanover schools.

Police tells us those are part of false rumors spreading on social networking websites.

Nodan says people should help whoever is responsible.

"I wouldn't say that I'm goning to flip out on anybody or go off on this kid because obviously he or she needs help," Nodan said.

Police say they are taking this very seriously and want to hear from you if you know anything. You can help police by calling Crime Stoppers at 780-1000. Remember all calls remain anonymous.

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