‘My heart dropped’: Student in critical condition after stabbing at Henrico middle school

A child is rushed to the hospital -- after being stabbed with a pocket knife at Brookland Middle School.
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 12:34 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2022 at 3:10 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) – A seventh-grader was rushed to the hospital Tuesday morning after a stabbing at Brookland Middle School in Henrico County.

Police say a school resource officer was at the school in the 9200 block of Lydell Drive when he was alerted to the stabbing incident on school grounds around 11:45 a.m.

“The preliminary investigation shows the incident occurred in a locker room at the school,” the Henrico Police Department said in a news release Tuesday afternoon.

In an email to parents, the middle school’s principal said the school was put on a “lock and teach” after the incident involving two seventh-graders.

Police say the victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition. The other student has been taken into police custody and charged with malicious wounding, felony stabbing and possession of a knife on school grounds.

“My heart dropped to my toes, and I said, ‘let me get over there because there’s too much going on right now,” Brookland Middle School parent Frank Lester said.

Lester says he had the scare of his life when he heard about a stabbing incident and subsequent school lockdown from his son today.

“He sent me an email saying, ‘come get me! Come get me! Come get me!’” Lester said. “I jumped in my car and flew and got over here because I wanted to find out he was okay. Luckily he’s okay, so I can breathe now.”

His son, Jayden Waller, told NBC12 he and his classmates didn’t find out about the stabbing from his teachers. Instead, they found out online.

“They just said we were on lockdown, and everyone had their computer out and saw everything saying that there was a stabbing on the news. We found out from the news,” Brookland Middle School student Jayden Waller said.

Police say this was an isolated incident, but that doesn’t change how serious this was for those at the school.

“While this was a very contained incident involving two students, we know whether students bore witness to the incident or were just here learning today, it is very upsetting,” Henrico Schools Superintendent Amy Cashwell said.

This was especially disturbing for many families because this comes less than 24 hours after a student at the school made an apparent gun threat.

Police and the school system said that incident is not related to the stabbing today but still raises concerns.

“I have a 12-year-old, so I have a son that’s in seventh grade,” Henrico School Board Member Reverend Roscoe Cooper III said. “As a parent, I pray for my child every day, and I pray for all of our students because I want them to go to school and come home. That’s important, especially in the climate we’re living in now.”

The Henrico Police Chief confirmed there is no metal detector at Brookland Middle but encourages parents to keep a close eye on their children’s social media and belongings.

“We have to be more involved with our kids, and I think a lot of times we are forgetting to do that,” Henrico Chief of Police Eric English said. “Unfortunately, we are starting to see more incidents like this occurring in our schools.”

While some parents are maybe hesitant to send their students back to school, mental health experts at the nonprofit ChildSavers urge it’s crucial to remind students that schools are safe places.

“For a lot of parents that feel like they want to keep their kid, they don’t know what’s going to happen in schools,” Bob Nickles, with ChildSavers, said. “But the reality is for most of our kids, for most of the time, the school is the safest place.”

Nickles also recommends talking with your student about what would help them feel more comfortable returning to class.

Counselors and mental health resources will be on-site at Brookland Middle School on Wednesday to help these students cope with what happened.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Henrico Police at 804-501-5000 or Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.