An eighth-grade Warren County Middle School student was arrested Tuesday, Nov. 15 for threats of violence.
According to Sheriff Jackie Matheny Jr., school officials were made aware of a verbal threat and an arrest was made after a thorough investigation. The student was charged with threats of mass violence on school property.
Director of Schools Dr. Grant Swallows expressed his frustration with the recurring incidents during the county Education Committee meeting Tuesday night. He said although he is frustrated, he is happy the situations are being handled responsibly. This is the fifth student within the last month to be arrested for threats of violence.
“We had another incident today and we are to the point of our SROs and our school staff are acting very responsibly. That is the one thing I kept talking about last week is I am frustrated with this. I am tired of dealing with this, but at the same time it also shows that our students, staff and law enforcement are acting very responsibly in making sure that they are reporting what they hear if they feel unsafe. They are reporting that and we are dealing with it as quickly as we can,” said Swallows.
He says during this day and age, threats cannot be taken lightly.
“We live in a time where you can’t use threatening language even if it is a joke, or said in jest. We are in an environment in our country where we are seeing threats, like at the University of Virginia yesterday, we saw mass violence that took place yesterday,” said Swallows.
Students are encouraged to continue to report things they see or hear firsthand. Swallows stressed the importance of this because a lot of false information gets spread around in these situations.
“We try to continually encourage our families and our students to report what they see and hear. I also want to be careful with this and say report what you see with your own eyes and hear with your own ears because one of the things that happens with our culture is somebody says something and five minutes later it is on social media and it is completely exaggerated. That tends to cause schools and law enforcement problems when trying to investigate what is really going on,” said Swallows.
These incidents are being taken very seriously and Swallows hopes the students will learn the importance of their words.
“It is frustrating and it is something our kids will understand the importance of their words. Whether it is spoken or written or put on social media, but I can tell you that our Sheriff, District Attorney, and Judge are taking these issues very seriously. I think that has been evident by what has happened over the last three or four weeks and I hope our students and families will understand the importance of that,” said Swallows.
On Friday, Matheny, Swallows, and District Attorney Chris Stanford will be speaking to the students at the Warren County Middle School about the consequences of this kind of behavior. Four out of the five students arrested have been from the Warren County Middle School.