Police officers responded to threats of gun violence at Robinson Secondary School just before the Thanksgiving break. On Tuesday, Nov. 22, and Wednesday, Nov. 23, students and staff encountered an increased presence at the school.
"We had received reports of an unsubstantiated threat," said Officer Shelly Broderick, spokesperson for Fairfax County Police. "We looked into it, and everything's fine."
"The school is happy to have police support when there is a threat," said Paul Regnier, spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools.
Fairfax County Police said that they had reports of a 15-year-old boy who had made telephone threats to area residents implying that he would shoot people at the school. The threats, said Officer J.D. Hairston, were directed against the student body in general. "No one specific was mentioned," he said.
Officers assisted with the school's dismissal on Tuesday. "They didn't need to do a lockdown, so it was obviously not an imminent danger," said Laura Mattingly, president of the Robinson PTA.
Mattingly's son, a senior at the school, had reported no significant problems to her. The only issue he told her of was an increase in traffic due to officers looking at the cars as they filed out of the school's parking lots.
After completing the two-day investigation, police determined that no firearms were at the school. They also said they determined the boy was acting alone and called in the threats as a hoax.
On Wednesday, students walked around the campus amid the increased police presence and showed little sign of concern. "It was just like a normal, short day of school," Mattingly said. "As far as I can tell, the police response was very fast and very strong," Mattingly said. "I am perfectly satisfied that there was no threat to the children."
The suspect was arrested at school, and juvenile petitions have been sought to charge him with threats to commit bodily harm to persons on school property. He was released into his parents’ custody.
School policy is not to discuss disciplinary matters involving an individual student, Regnier said. "Appropriate action is always taken in a case like this," he said.