YORKTOWN, Va. (WAVY) — Three York County high school students have been arrested after sending threatening text messages to one another.
According to the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office, deputies received information around 10 p.m. on Tuesday night that three Grafton High School students were exchanging texts about shooting, bombing and burning the school on December 8.
One student’s parents alerted the sheriff’s office about the messages.
After searching through the night to find the students, they were all taken into custody and transported to the Merrimac Detention Center, where they are awaiting a detention hearing.
Deputies say they have been charged with conspiracy, threats to bomb and burn, and threats of death on school property.
In addition to criminal charges, the students will face disciplinary action in accordance with the YCSD Student Handbook and Conduct Code.
“We identified where the text came from, went to those homes interviewed those students and based on those interviews and the information we had concerning the text messages, those three students were taken into custody late last night,” said Major Ron Montgomery with the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office.
Montgomery says they didn’t find any guns in their investigation but did collect the cellphones and are still investigating content on them.
He’s hoping this will be a teaching moment for parents in the community.
“I think the community and any parent should monitor their child’s social media pages or cell phones and texts on a regular basis and if they see something like this, they need to take it seriously and report it,” he said.
“I am extremely pleased with the outstanding efforts of our Deputies, School Resource Officers, Investigators, and the collaborative effort between the York County School Division,” said Sherriff Danny Diggs in a statement. “I am thankful for the quick manner in which the case was handled and the swift conclusion of this case to help to put people’s minds at ease.”
The York County School Division released the following statement on Wednesday:
The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office has notified the York County School Division regarding an overnight investigation involving a potential threat to the Grafton School Complex. A concerned parent contacted law enforcement to report threatening comments within text messages exchanged between three GHS students.
While the investigation is ongoing, the individuals involved in the text message group were taken into custody before school began today. In addition to facing criminal charges, the students will face disciplinary action in accordance with the YCSD Student Handbook and Conduct Code.
We commend the parent who immediately reported this concern to law enforcement and the deputies and investigators who worked through the night to resolve this matter. The safety and well-being of our school community is a collective effort and remains a top priority for our school division.
The division and law enforcement take all reports of this nature seriously. Families are encouraged to use this incident as a “teachable moment.” Remind your child that safety is a serious matter and jokes or false threats of this nature do have consequences.
Our community can report concerns directly to the division through the YCSD Report It hotline (757-890-5000) and forms. Report It forms are located on the division website and app and all school websites. In the event of an emergency, always call 911.