Thomas Jefferson High School graduation evacuated due to threat

Posted at 9:24 PM, Jun 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-14 07:10:24-04

RICHMOND, Va. – The graduation ceremony for Thomas Jefferson High School students was evacuated Wednesday night at the Altria Theater in downtown Richmond due to a threat.

In a statement, the school system said the evacuation was due to a safety concern. No other information about threat was released at the time.

Richmond Police said around 8:37 p.m., Richmond Schools administrators made the decision to stop graduation and evacuate the building.

The graduation ceremony abruptly ended before graduates' names were called to receive diplomas, students said. All students and families were told to leave due to the unspecified threat.

Parents said they were evacuated first, followed by the students.

Students described the scary moments following the evacuation and the frustration of the incident on their big day.

“Mostly everyone was downstairs crying and calling their parents because we were all separated,” Thomas Jefferson student Keondae Spencer said.

“I work hard. Very, very hard. And the one time where we get to shine, when it’s our chance to graduate, our one chance. Then something like this happens,” student Muhammad Abdus-Salam said.

The graduation has been rescheduled for Saturday, June 16 at 10 a.m. at the Altria Theater.

“We appreciate the flexibility and understanding of all of our graduates, their families, and staff. Student safety is always a top priority and RPS looks forward to celebrating the graduates of Thomas Jefferson High School,” said RPS spokesperson Kenita Bowers.

Stay with CBS 6 for the latest on this developing story.

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