Virginia Beach Police have arrested a 17-year-old after the student was identified as the source of a threat made Wednesday regarding Princess Anne High School. The student was charged with one felony count of Communicating Threat to School – Electronically.
Police determined the threat, which was posted on social media and told people to wear a red shirt to avoid being shot, to not be credible. That determination is made on a number of factors, including the person’s ability and means to carry out the threat, said Master Police Officer Tonya Pierce, a department spokeswoman.
“[Threats are] happening across the state and the nation, and unfortunately it’s also happened across Hampton Roads and here in Virginia Beach, most recently with a threat posted yesterday about Princess Anne High School. While we are not alone in dealing with this issue, we stand committed to student safety and recognize that this behavior has to stop.”
Spence also asked parents for their help keeping an eye on their children’s social media usage, and reminded them that anything their students post online stays there forever.
Pierce said this is not the first time a Virginia Beach student has been charged after posting a threat.
The police department also asked students to immediately send threats they discover to police, a parent or teacher rather than re-posting it. That will help speed the investigation and help them get to the source more quickly, Pierce said.
“We ask parents to take this time to have a conversation with their children about the consequences of posting threatening or bullying comments on social media,” the police said in a release.
Spence said in his letter that the school district will be launching a new social media awareness campaign called “Be Social, Be Smart, Be Safe,” which will be geared to educating students about the importance of being smart in a digital world. There will also be discussions on the topic with students at schools.