Hanover cancels Monday pep rally over safety concerns

Hanover cancels Monday pep rally over safety concerns

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - Social media is buzzing after a threat was made at Hanover High School, leading to the postponing of a pep rally Monday. The threat comes days after a shooting at a Florida high school left 17 dead and more wounded.

"Part of me didn't want them to cancel it, because you don't want fear to run your life, but part of me knew my daughter was going to school and would be afraid to go, and I didn't want that," explained Sharon Brumfield.

A threat that started Friday had many parents think twice about letting their kids attend - including Brumfield, who says she and her 9th grader had a conversation about how she was feeling about the situation.

"My daughter got really nervous yesterday. She said kids were saying 'I don't want to die,' said Brumfield.

The Hanover Sheriff's Office did not go into detail about the nature of the threats, but they say the threats are not real, following an investigation.

Hanover High School called and wrote to families, letting them know police did not find the threat to be credible. Investigators spoke to the students and parents of the students involved and say the families cooperated with the investigation.

Over the weekend, following the threats on Friday, the Sheriff's Office says there were more threats towards Hanover, but they were also found to be false.

"Half her class isn't there today. She said there are only 10 people in her [English] class, and there are usually 24," said Brumfield.

Checking on her daughter throughout the day Monday, Brumfield was able to get updates about the school day and how things were going, hoping to keep her daughter at ease.

The Hanover Sheriff's Office did increase their presence throughout the day at the school to help keep the community calm. That is the same reason the school decided to move the date of the pep rally. Principal Kris Reece explained the reason for postponing in a note home.

I'm writing to inform you that the pep rally scheduled for tomorrow morning will be postponed to a later date to avoid any further disruption at our school. As noted in my previous messages, a variety of rumors involving safety concerns at Hanover High School have been circulating in the community, and this has continued throughout the weekend. One of the rumors involves the pep rally scheduled for tomorrow.

Despite the pep rally being canceled, the school was open as normal on Monday.

There have been several schools across the Commonwealth and the country who have experienced threats in the days following the tragedy in Parkland Florida.

Clover Hill High School saw an increased police presence Friday morning, even after Chesterfield police say social media threats and rumors were not true.

In Mecklenburg County, a student is facing felony charges for threatening to shoot students at Blue Stone High School.

"I wish I could drill it into kids - social media is so easy, you think you're just posting stuff and it's fun. It's not all fun. It's real," explained Aditi Wardhan Singh, Chief Editor of Raising World Children Global, an online magazine. "If people want to trace back to you, they can. You need to understand, you are not above the law, and you cannot escape any consequence if it comes to that."

Wardhan Singh says it is important to have conversations about the events we continue to see in our communities and listen while also teach young people.

"They feel whatever we feel. We need to be honest with the fact this is coming from a very real place," she explained. "We want our kids to be kind, sympathetic, empathetic of the world. We don't want them to be cold - but aware and empowered."

She says from a young age, families can continue to reinforce the importance of not being afraid of speaking up if situations don't seem right, whether they are on social media or in person. Sharon Brumfield feels the same, which she says my have helped school administrators and law enforcement in Hanover.

"The kids, if they see something, say something, and as parents and any adult, listen when they tell you they're seeing something," said Brumfield.

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