UPDATE: Commonwealth’s Attorney asks VSP to investigate Thursday incident at Nelson County High

Lynchburg & Central Virginia News

UPDATE 1:17 p.m.: The Commonwealth’s Attorney of Nelson County, Daniel Rutherford, announced Tuesday afternoon that his office has asked Virginia State Police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation Division to review Thursday’s incident at Nelson County High School between Sheriff David Hill and a student.

Nelson County Public Schools previously said that authorities disrupted a fight between two students at the high school on Thursday, Aug. 26 and then detained another student who reportedly became confrontational around them.

However, several students told WFXR News that two Nelson County deputies assaulted slammed a 15-year-old boy to the ground, knocking out two of his teeth, after the fight between two female students, one of whom was the boy’s cousin.

According to Rutherford, the request for Virginia State Police to investigate the incident requires approval from Attorney General Mark Herring.

“It is important to remember that neither the Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney, nor any other law enforcement agency, may comment on the incident at this time,” Rutherford stated. “I understand that the community is concerned by the reports of this incident, many of which are circulating on Social Media. I urge the community to exercise patience while the Bureau of Criminal Investigation awaits approval from the Office of the Attorney General.”

NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Nelson County Public Schools’ students are heading back to the classroom on Tuesday — albeit with a heightened law enforcement presence — after the district closed Monday as authorities investigated “very serious and concerning” threats of violence made against schools on social media, according to officials.

The school district’s closure on Monday, Aug. 30 for the threatening social media messages was preceded by another closure on Friday, Aug. 27, which was attributed to a number of factors, including a confrontation at the high school, an increase in coronavirus activity in both the county and the school community, and concerns about the current heat wave.

According to school officials, law enforcement officers were at the Nelson County High School campus for an unrelated event on Thursday, Aug. 26 when they disrupted a fight between two students. Then, another student reportedly became confrontational while in the authorities’ presence and was detained.

However, several students at Nelson County Public Schools told WFXR News that two Nelson County deputies assaulted a 15-year-old boy after the fight between two female students, one of whom was the boy’s cousin.

Students say that the boy had nothing to do with the fight and was checking on his cousin afterward, but the deputies slammed him to the ground, knocking out two of this teeth.

The Nelson County Sheriff’s Office is not commenting about the incident, saying it’s an open investigation.

However, the school district posted on Facebook on Monday night that the sheriff’s office has identified those who posted the online threats, saying the individuals involved did not have the means to carry such threats out.

School officials say that the sheriff’s office will provide additional officers and extra layers of security at all four school sites when they reopen on Tuesday, Aug. 31. In addition, the district will provide students with opportunities to seek support and share any concerns through additional counseling services and extra school staff.

You can read Monday’s full statement from Nelson County Public Schools below:

Good evening NCPS staff and families:

We are reaching out this evening to address the circumstances that have impacted our school division over the past several days. We want to be as clear as possible concerning our stance towards misconduct and as forthcoming as possible as it relates to the recent threats made against our school division.

Today, we made the decision to close our school buildings in response to threats of violence — made over social media — against our schools. The decision to close schools today was made in the best interest of safety and to allow law enforcement officials time to investigate these claims thoroughly.

Throughout the day today, we have worked with the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) to assist them as they have worked their investigation. At this time, NCSO staff have identified those who made these threats and they determined that the individuals who did so did not have the means to carry them out. Based on the circumstances of the investigation, these are the only details we can release at this time. Again, there are no further known threats.

We want to be clear: threats made against this school division will not be tolerated. At Nelson County Public Schools, we have no tolerance for threats of any sort, whether made in-person or online. Any threat made against our students or our school buildings, will be immediately reported to local law enforcement. All students must understand that making threats can, and will, result in serious legal and disciplinary consequences.

As you know, these threats have caused a disruption to our student’s learning schedule. Accordingly, we have worked with the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office and they will be providing additional officers and extra layers of security at ALL four school sites on Tuesday. The safety of our students and staff is — and always will be — our top priority! We will continue to partner with the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office to ensure our buildings are safe. Additionally, we will continue to support all of our students in the most appropriate manner to process the recent events. We will provide them the opportunity to seek support in the additional counseling services and extra school staff provided to allow the sharing of their concerns or thoughts in a productive process.

NCPS will resume school on Tuesday and return to the task at hand, which is preparing our students for success.

Nelson County Public Schools

Meanwhile, in light of the recent social media threats against schools, the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office shared a video from the FBI encouraging people to “think before you post.”

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