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Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County schools. You can email him at jbranscome@freelancestar.com.

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Two fifth graders identified in Wilderness Elementary bomb threats

UPDATE: There have been three bomb threats at Wilderness Elementary this school year – on Sept. 4, Sept. 5 and Sept. 17. The culprit has been identified in the second and third incidents but the first one remains under investigation, school division spokeswoman Rene Daniels said.

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Wilderness Elementary School staff discovered two bomb threats written on bathroom stalls over the past week, Spotsylvania schools spokeswoman Rene Daniels said.

In both cases, a fifth grade boy was determined to be responsible, Daniels said. The incidents involved different boys.

Disciplinary action was taken by the school in last week’s incident and the school is  looking at disciplining the boy involved in the incident that took place Monday as school was letting out, Daniels said.

In both instances, a Spotsylvania sheriff’s deputy was involved in interviewing the students, Daniels said.

According to the school division’s code of conduct, leaving a threatening message is considered “violent criminal conduct” and can result in long-term suspension and criminal charges.

These are the only threats received this school year, Daniels said. The school division dealt with a spate of bomb threats last school year including at least two at Wilderness and at least three at Ni River Middle School, which is located next door.

The school sent the following message to parents of Wilderness Elementary students Monday evening regarding that day’s incident.

Wilderness families,

We apologize for the delay in getting this message to you.  Our Internet was down all day and was not restored until this evening.  Today at the time of dismissal it was reported that a threatening message had been discovered in one of the bathrooms at Wilderness Elementary.   The Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office was immediately contacted and measures were put in motion during dismissal time to make sure all students and staff were safely evacuated.  As a precaution, the building was inspected to ensure that there were no issues.

The monitoring processes we enacted enabled us to determine the culprit.We are disheartened by behavior such as this that disrupts the instruction day.  Please know that we will continue to do everything we can to provide a safe place for our students to learn and grow. 

It is important for students to be reminded of the potential consequences of making threats of this nature.  As referenced in the Code of Student Conduct, page 10, paragraph 3b, this infraction is categorized as “violent criminal conduct” and would result in a recommendation for long term suspension and criminal charges. 

We share this information so you have the facts in responding to questions/concerns from your child. Our counselors, Mrs. Kopley or Mrs. S. Wingert are available to support students as needed. Should you have any questions or concerns, please call the school at 540-786-9817.  School will open as scheduled tomorrow.

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