Student charged after loaded gun recovered from Henrico County middle school

Posted at 4:35 PM, May 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-31 18:25:04-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A student was charged after a loaded handgun was recovered at John Rolfe Middle School in Henrico County on Wednesday, police and school officials confirmed.

"Late this afternoon, an individual reported that a student might have a weapon on campus," Rolfe principal Darryl Johnson wrote in an email to parents. "Administrators immediately worked with the SRO and Henrico County Police to locate the student and recover a handgun."

Officers and school officials "worked quickly to identify and locate the student," according to officials with Henrico Police. Officials said the recovered a loaded gun from the student's possession.

Police said the boy was charged with possession of a firearm by a person under the age of 18, possession of a firearm on school property and carrying a concealed weapon. The student was taken the Henrico Juvenile Detention home.

School leaders said the boy is also facing disciplinary action at school.

Officers have not yet said if any threat of violence was made.

"We are grateful to the person who reported this matter to us and to the police for their swift and safe resolution," Johnson's email continued.

The situation at John Rolfe comes hours after Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas and Henrico Police Chief Eric English posted a video on social media that urged parents and gun owners to keep weapons away from their children.

"We've got the physical improvements that are being made [at schools], but we, as parents, have to have an honest conversation about [how] we're all responsible for all of the kids in all of our schools," Vithoulkas said in the video.

All Henrico County Public Schools will soon have weapon detection scanners as an added security mechanism, with some schools projected to have the scanners installed by the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

Following months-long field testing using metal detectors, wands, and weapons scanners at a variety of schools, as well as the county collecting feedback through focus groups and county-wide surveys, all Henrico County School Board members said recently that they were on board with plans to install scanners.

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Henrico Superintendent Dr. Amy Cashwell said scanners and additional staff are just two layers to bolstering security measures.

"I want to underscore for the community that it's not an either-or. It's not the technology or support. It's both," Cashwell said. "And we began bolstering our mental health supports and other supports in schools, and wrap-arounds for students, over the past few years, increasing the number of school counselors, our school-based mental health teams, and this piece related to layers of school security in addition to that, not in spite of that."

Another layer, Cashwell said, is addressing the district's code of conduct.

"We certainly want to make sure that we're fostering a school climate where everyone takes school safety responsibility, where there is discipline and consequences when students are making infractions that are safety-related, and that we're doing the wrap-around supports for prevention with mental health and those sorts of things," Cashwell said.

John Rolfe Middle School is located on Messer Road in eastern Henrico.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email to send a tip.

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