By Connie Morrison — For the second time in three weeks, Arcadia High School parents weighed whether it was safe to send their children to school Friday after another student allegedly threatened others at Arcadia High School. Schools were closed Thursday for staff development.
Superintendent Chris Holland, when asked about the nature of the threat, the protocol followed, and assurances parents, students, and staff had that school was safe to attend, issued this statement:
“This is W.C. Holland, Superintendent of Accomack County Public Schools. Today, Wednesday, March 6, it was alleged that a student made a threat regarding Arcadia High School. We have taken all precautions and followed all protocol to ensure that all students and staff at Arcadia High School are safe. We are working with the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office in this investigation. It is our top priority to provide a safe environment where our students can learn.”
A student was removed from school Feb. 14 for allegedly threatening other students. The school board got an earful at its Feb. 22 meeting from parents and Supervisor Ron Wolff for lack of notification to parents who heard about the incident from their children. Wolff said the only communication was a call from his grandson to say only about 200 students attended the following day. Holland did not confirm Feb. 15 attendance when asked by a reporter. According to the school records, enrollment is about 650 students.
Officials sent a letter home with students Wednesday, the same day the second alleged threat was made. An official at the sheriff’s office confirmed officers were called to the school, but no additional information was released.
The threat was made the same day the Virginia Department of Education and the University of Virginia were scheduled to survey Arcadia students as part of a statewide student school climate survey. “The purpose of this survey is to help schools assess their progress in establishing a positive school climate that promotes student learning,” according to Arcadia’s website. Holland declined to say whether the survey went on as scheduled.
A call to Arcadia principal Rose Taylor was not returned by press time.