Bomb threat empties Richmond school; increased police presence in Chesterfield

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

RICHMOND, Va. -- Students were evacuated from John Marshall High School, on Old Brook Road in Richmond, Thursday morning as police investigated a bomb threat.

The threat was phoned into the school, according to Richmond Schools spokesperson Kenita Bowers.

Richmond Police officers and K9 units swept the school and nothing suspicious was found.

Students were allowed back into the school after the all-clear was given.

"We are distracted from school and we are supposed to be learning, but people are calling in fake bomb threats," said one student. "But, I understand the school is on high alert after what happened down there [in Parkland, Florida]."

Meanwhile in Chesterfield County, police have deemed a threat made toward students at Salem Church Middle School not credible.

Police did however increase their presence Thursday morning at the Chesterfield school.

Chesterfield Police Lt. Peter Cimbal said officers interviewed the student who made the threat and, at this time, that student has not been charged with a crime. He said he believed school administrators would handle disciplinary actions against the student.

Thursday's investigations come amid calls for closer looks at school security in the wake of a mass shooting in Florida.

Not even 24 hours after the massacre, threats began pouring into schools across the country, prompting schools to not only ensure parents their children were safe, but also to examine what measures they had in place to prevent a tragedy in their district.

The string of threats left Virginians asking what lawmakers are doing to keep children safe.

Governor Ralph Northam was asked about gun rights issue during the Ask the Governor radio show on WRVA.

Northam stated five bills he introduced on gun control were defeated before he gave his State of the Commonwealth. If passed, one piece of legislation would've banned bump stocks and another would've prevented Virginians from purchasing more than one gun a month.

"I need some people on both sides of the aisle to come to the table and say this is a problem," Northam said. "If you don't want to see these tragedies continue how can we make it better?"

CBS 6 asked Speaker Kirk Cox whether he's committed to introducing legislation that would tighten access to guns for those with mental illness and his stance on the legality of assault and automatic weapons in Virginia.

Parker Slaybaugh, the speaker's communications director, sent this statement:

“As a former school teacher, Speaker Cox believes schools are for learning, not violence, and the House has taken concrete steps to prevent gun violence and make our schools safer. We have passed legislation to allow school systems to hire retired police officers to handle school security and have invested heavily in school security infrastructure. The Speaker recognizes the threat malicious and deranged people pose when armed with a weapon and is willing to look at ways to tighten our screening and strengthen our mental health system to ensure people who are experiencing mental health issues do not have access to guns.”


In Broward County, where 17 people were killed last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, deputies will now be able to carry rifles, specifically AR-15s, at county schools, said Sheriff Scott Israel during a Wednesday news conference.

Israel said he implemented the order with the support of school district Superintendent Robert Runcie.

Israel has faced criticism since the shooting, according to reports from CNN affiliate WPLG, because there was an armed deputy on campus during the tragedy but he didn't fire his gun.

"His response and his actions, like everyone else, will be scrutinized," Israel said.

Volusia County Schools in Florida, about 230 miles north of Parkland, said last week the district has asked authorities for additional surveillance at their schools in response to the events in Parkland.

"This event is a stark reminder of the importance of our safety procedures and our check-in and screening processes for all visitors," the district's statement read.

The superintendent of Johnston County Public Schools in North Carolina issued a letter last week saying the system has applied for a grant to place 12 more school resource officers in schools throughout the district. D. Ross Renfrow, the superintendent, said the district was upgrading its school perimeter security measures and restrictions to front-door access.

"All schools have panic buttons located strategically on the campuses," Renfrow's letter states.

In Kentucky, a Bullitt County Public Schools Facebook post said Tuesday there will be heavier law enforcement presence at schools Wednesday because of a threat that turned out to be a prank.

"It was a prank; a very misguided prank that caused disquiet among the school community and which will have severe consequences," the post read.

On the federal level, President Donald Trump, during a White House listening session Wednesday, recommended arming teachers and staff to increase school security.

CNN Wire contributed to this report.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.