2 students charged with having gun at separate Henrico schools
HENRICO Co., Va. (WWBT) - Henrico police said two students at separate schools were charged with having a gun on the property.
Shortly after 11 a.m. on June 1, a student at Hermitage High School told administrators that another student was seen in a restroom showing a gun.
“A prompt collaborative investigation between HCPS and the school resource officers resulted in the recovery of a firearm from the student’s backpack,” a release from Henrico police said.
The student was charged with possession of a firearm by a juvenile, possession of a weapon on school property and possession of marijuana.
Then around 11:41 a.m. at Varina High School, school officials told the school resource officer they would search a student due to the smell of marijuana.
“During the search, items discovered prompted school administrators to conduct a search of the student’s vehicle; during that search, a firearm was located,” the release said.
Haythem Wadah Ali, 18, was charged with possessing a firearm on school property.
The two incidents are not believed to be connected.
Parents who live near Hermitage High School are worried incidents like this will never end. “Whether it’s loaded or not, no child needs to bring a gun into school,” Lynda Cowan said.
Although Wednesday’s scare brought chilling reminders of the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Donna Michaelis, the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety director, said Virginia is the only state requiring threat assessment teams, putting the state a cut above the rest.
“Our statistics show that 99.1% of all the threats that are being assessed by our schools are being averted. Meaning they’re getting in there and they’re assessing what’s going on with this child, they’re intervening and providing support and they’re getting this child off of a pathway to violence,” Michaelis said.
She said students speaking out when they see something can make a life-saving difference. Henrico Police are urging parents to lock up their weapons and talk to their children about the potential consequences.
Henrico County Public Schools issuing a statement in part quote:
“We are fortunate to have an outstanding partnership with Henrico’s Police Division to have a school resource officer on-site at every middle and high school and assigned to respond to specific elementary schools throughout the county when needed. Their presence contributes to the school culture where safety is everyone’s priority and where students feel comfortable reporting concerns to a trusted adult – whether that is a teacher, an administrator, or the SRO.”
Henrico Police and the Henrico County School District are working together to address violence among young people in schools and throughout the community.
They plan to host a town hall meeting at Henrico High School Monday, June 6, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. A second meeting will be held virtually on Wednesday, June 8, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas will deliver opening remarks, followed by a moderated panel discussion featuring Henrico Police Chief Eric English, a representative from the Virginia Department of Health, a community youth program, several HCPS Family and Community Engagement staff members, and a student.
The meetings are open to the public.
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