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March 20: Virginia Middle School Social Media Threat

Dear Bearcat Community, 

Only minutes before opening the school doors this morning, school administrators received multiple calls and emails regarding a threat that had been made on social media. The threat indicated a potential for violence at Virginia Middle School. Our school administrators worked together with members of the Bristol Police Department and Bristol Sheriff's Office to ensure that our students arriving at Virginia Middle School were supervised and kept safe through the early hours of the school day. BVPS staff and law enforcement personnel monitored the arriving students while other members of BVPS and BPD physically checked each student and his/her belongings upon entering the school doors. Students were brought together in the gymnasium where they were again under the supervision of staff and law enforcement. There were no weapons found during the security check of students, and all students have been addressed by Dr. Chitwood, Principal of Virginia Middle School. 

Many parents came immediately to the school to check-out their students. While a rush of parents to the school complicates the matter of checking in students at the school and accounting for their well-being, we understand the parental mindset to keep your child safe. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we required parents to complete a sign-out sheet before leaving with a student or students. It is important that the school knows the whereabouts of all students, and we must take these precautions even early on a cold morning. 

At this time, all students who remained at the school are back in their normal classes and following the planned schedule for the day. The school administrators will continue to work with the Bristol Police Department to investigate the threats that surfaced this morning. There will be an increased presence from law enforcement today and tomorrow, and the school will be extra vigilant about students and visitors entering the building. Additionally, any student in attendance will have the ability to speak with a school counselor or another trusted adult as the students process their emotions today and tomorrow. 

We thank you for your patience and understanding on this morning. Our staff members and the Bristol Police Department and Bristol Sheriff's Office took immediate action to safeguard our school community. Because the information surfaced just this morning, we did not have any opportunity to provide communication ahead of student arrival at the school. As you speak with your children, please encourage them to share information with you or with adults at the school whenever they believe their safety or the safety of others is threatened. As a community, we can work together to prevent mornings like the one we have just experienced. 

Thank you, 

David D. Scott, Ed.D.