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Threat of Valentine's Day violence closes Henrico private school

Posted at 5:52 PM, Feb 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-14 17:52:24-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Crime Insider Sources told Jon Burkett that The Steward School in Henrico County opted to close Tuesday after a message threatening violence on Valentine's Day was written in a bathroom

This threat comes nearly three weeks after Henrico Police said a graffiti-related threat at Pocahontas Middle School prompted an increased police presence the next day at the school. Pocahontas Middle is part of the Henrico County Public School system and The Steward School is a private school for K-12 students.

In an email to the Steward community, the head of the school said the threat was identified late Monday afternoon, adding that the school's crisis management team is working closely with Henrico Police to investigate the matter.

Threat of Valentine's Day violence closes Henrico private school

In the meantime, the school opted to close Tuesday and said they hope to reopen on Wednesday with additional safety precautions in place.

"That's horrible when we can't send our children to school to learn without having to worry about someone shooting them on Valentine's Day," Henrico parent Arielle Choudry said. "It's awful."

Choudry's son attends kindergarten at a Henrico County Public School and said any sort of school threat scares her.

"I feel like it's happening more frequently these days and I feel like it's happening closer and closer to home," Choudry said.

Threat of Valentine's Day violence closes Henrico private school

Henrico Police spokesperson Matthew Pecka said police have not identified any suspects in the incident at Pocahontas Middle School yet.

CBS 6 asked police how schools and police make decisions on how to handle threats.

Pecka said in Henrico, a threat assessment team made up of crisis intervention members, school services and various law enforcement representatives work together to investigate each incident and mitigate the threat. He said ultimately, decisions about whether to close a school are up to the school, not the police.

In Chesterfield, Lt. Jason Stocks who heads up school safety for the police department said each threat is evaluated by a threat assessment team, typically made up of police and members of the Chesterfield County Public School system. He said if the threat assessment team identifies evidence that the threat is credible, police and schools will make a decision together about how to respond.

"It's become practice that you don't ignore anything," Stocks said. "You have to evaluate and investigate each threat."

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