February 6, 2006
Guidance counselors were on hand today at Albemarle County schools to help kids deal with the news that some of their classmates may have been plotting violent acts against them.
"It seemed like a normal day at school to me," commented one student.
After word that three students were arrested for planning a school shooting you'd expect there'd be some uneasiness but students and parents leaving schools today described things as quite and calm.
Guidance counselors and teachers were available for kids trying to make sense of reports their fellow students may have been plotting to do them harm.
"I went out and visited each of the three schools that had juveniles arrested and it was quiet and low key; very little action in the guidance offices" said Albemarle County School Superintendent Dr. Pam Moran.
On Friday Albemarle County police announced the arrest of a 16, a 15 and 13-year-old from three Albemarle schools. They believe the boys would have used guns and explosives to carry out violent attacks on Western Albemarle and Albemarle high schools in the coming months.
Parents say the schools are doing a great job keeping them informed and calming student fears but even so, there's still concern.
"It makes me very nervous," said one parent.
Right now there are more questions than answers.
"Why was it the three different schools and the age groups? Does that mean that that was the main person? Or are there others working with them that they don't know about?" asked the parent.
School officials are also looking for answers, trying to figure out what leads kids to this kind of behavior and say they will be working closely with parents.
"As you know this was something that started with [an internet] chat room and so we're trying to work with our parents and share with them what we thing are some good strategies," said Moran.
Police believe they've arrested all students involved in the alleged plot and that they've prevented a situation that could have been deadly.
The parents of one of the teens arrested asked that their privacy be respected. They have no comment at this time.
The teens are being held at the Blue Ridge Detention Center until their next court hearing on February 22.