March 27, 2007
Both Henley Middle School and Brownsville Elementary School will reopen tomorrow after two suspicious items closed the schools and caused some very tense moments.
Just after 7 a.m., custodians at Brownsville Elementary and Henley Middle School noticed two suspicious items near the front of both schools. The staff members notified police and rerouted incoming students and buses to Western Albemarle High School.
"We responded very quickly. We set up a perimeter. We were able to move the students to another location that had been searched and deemed stable," said Albemarle County Police Lt. John Teixeira.
"We wanted to be sure that we could have our students in a safe environment while our police department was beginning to conduct an investigation," said Superintendent Dr. Pam Moran.
Sources close to the investigation say the two items found were an envelope with spray paint and a cylinder like object. Both items were disrupted by the State Police Bomb Squad but police will not confirm if either contained dangerous materials. However, police do say they take the threats seriously.
"Circumstances that I can't get into right now elevated our concern in this investigation due to the type and nature of the items," said Lt. Teixeira.
School officials say this response is evident of the times that we live in.
"Fifteen years ago, our school staff might have walked up and seen a package or an item and it would have been treated much more nonchalantly. We are not in a day and age where that occurs," said Dr. Moran.
There will be added patrols at both school sites tomorrow to bolster security. Police are not saying if these threats are linked to two threats, one at Western and one at Henley last week. They do say they are following some strong leads but no arrests have been made in the case.
Again, both Henley Middle School and Brownsville Elementary School will operate on regular schedules tomorrow.