Threats to Surry, Sussex schools confirmed; situation in-hand as authorities investigate


By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: January 8, 2019 | 9:18 p.m

SURRY & SUSSEX COUNTIES – “Yes, we have received electronic threats via social media,” confirmed Sussex County School Superintendent Dr. Arthur Jarrett in response to a call concerning threats causing both Sussex and Surry County Schools to cancel Tuesday after-school activities.

“Every year for the last four years something like this has come up around this time, but we are being cautious and keeping up with the situation. We are working hand in hand with law enforcement, including increased monitoring, supervising, and law enforcement presence at all schools.”

Dr. Michael Thornton, Surry County School Superintendent, also confirmed that “We have shared with parents that threats have been received through social media regarding the schools, and are working with law enforcement as they investigate the threats to ensure that our schools continue to be safe for students and staff.”

Sussex County Sheriff Ernest Giles, after confirming that additional posts were received on Tuesday following the Monday threat, explained how the situation developed.

“I was contacted yesterday after a student showed a school resource officer an Instagram post which said that both Sussex and Surry schools better ‘beware’ and threatened to ‘shoot up the school system’ in both Counties. We immediately began investigating, and my office, the Virginia State Police, and the Surry County Sheriff’s Office are working on it now. We are getting and have served Instagram post warrants. We have received information in the last 24 hours on people we are interviewing now. I have coordinated with Sheriff Turner and both school superintendents on how to address the situation. Right now, the system is definitely secured. We have additional officers there (at the schools) inside and outside the complex, and have canceled all after schools activities for Tuesday as a precautionary measure.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Surry County Sheriff Carlos Turner said, “We continue to work with the Sussex Sheriff’s office trying to ascertain where the threats are coming from and their validity. We have safety measures in place and extra deputies at all three Surry County schools and on campus for the remainder of the week.”

Sheriff Giles and Sheriff Turner each indicated that they want to assure parents that the safety of the students is their number one concern. Both school systems have a regular policy of keeping the entrance doors secured so that visitors cannot walk into the buildings without being admitted, and both sheriffs stressed that there is a continuous law-enforcement presence in the schools involved.


By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: January 8, 2019 | 2:02 p.m.

SURRY – Threats on social media related to Surry County Schools prompted school officials to cancel after-school activities Tuesday afternoon.

In an automated message delivered to parents Tuesday morning, the school division said both they and neighboring Sussex County Public Schools were “notified by law enforcement of a second social media threat to our schools.”

As a precaution, Surry Schools cancelled all after-school activities for the day. When asked, a Sussex County Public Schools representative said all afternoon activities for their schools had been cancelled as well as a result of the threats.

Details regarding either of the threats and what they entailed have not been revealed by authorities.

In their message to parents, Surry County Public Schools said, “Law enforcement from Surry and Sussex are working together to resolve this issue.”

This story will be updated with the latest information as it becomes available. Stay with The Sussex-Surry Dispatch for the newest information.

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