Police investigating 21 school threats made in Virginia Beach; City leaders ask for parents to monitor children’s social media

Posted at 4:23 PM, Feb 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-23 17:34:37-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Police are investigating 21 school threats made toward schools in Virginia Beach.

They've made arrests in half of those cases.

The city Commonwealth's attorney, police chief and school board officer held a press conference at city hall Friday.

They said they're cracking down on school threats made online, no matter what kind it is.

"Some of the cases were nothing more than rumors," said Police Chief James Cervera. "Somebody started a rumor; we tried to find out who started the rumor. We invested a lot of time and energy into doing that. Other cases have turned out to be bona fide threats towards schools."

There haven't been any changes in operating procedures at this time, but all school resource officers are constantly reminded to make tactical decisions when necessary. 

"SRO's are trained just like all of our officers to make that tactical decision on how to make the entry into a building, how to then interact and if need be neutralize the subject," Cervera added.

The Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney Colin Stolle said a juvenile can be prosecuted as an adult as young as 14 years old and a felony charge can stick with them for the rest of their life.

"It will affect your ability to get a job, it will affect your ability to go to college, it will affect your ability to join the military. It will simply affect every part of your life," Stolle mentioned.

The Virginia Beach school board said they're reinforcing digital citizenship to students in the classroom by making sure they post positive things and using social media for educational purposes while at school.

However, city leaders feel that parents should be teaching their children to be responsible.

"You have a duty to know what they're doing on their phones, on their tablets, on all of their electronics," continued Stolle. "You have every right to demand to see it."