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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Shooting threat found in girls bathroom at York High School

The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office is investigating a possible threat at a local high school Thursday.

At approximately 12:30 p.m. the sheriff’s office was notified of a threat found on the wall in the girls bathroom at York High School, Shelley Ward, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office said.

Ward said the threat was written on a single bathroom tile: “On March 6th, I am going to shoot 3 people who have harmed me. This is your warning.”

Ward said they do not believe there is an active threat to students or the public at this time and they are still investigating whether the threat is credible.

She noted the administration closed off the bathroom and the school division notified the parents.

“We are taking this matter very seriously, as well as the sheriff’s office,” said Katherine Goff, spokeswoman for the York County School Division.

Goff said a student notified the administration around noon and the school was not placed on modified or full lockdown. However, parents were sent an automated phone message “shortly after dismissal”. The high school is dismissed at 2:05 p.m.

Here’s the complete text of the automated phone message the school sent to parents:

“School administrators, in conjunction with the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office, have been investigating a potential threat found in graffiti in a school restroom.
There is no other evidence at this point that indicates this to be a credible threat. The sheriff’s office is still investigating and will take the appropriate action as necessary to make sure the school is safe. Additional deputies will be onsite tomorrow as well, as a precaution and reassurance to families. I want to assure you that we take this matter very seriously and are working closely with authorities as they continue to investigate this matter.
As we continue to work with law enforcement, I would like to ask your assistance in this matter as well. Please use this as an opportunity to speak with your child about the importance of reporting suspicious activity and the dangers of using social media to create or advance rumors of a threatening nature.
As you know, maintaining a safe and secure learning environment for all students is a top priority for everyone at our school. We will continue to inform you of events that affect our school.”

“There are certain procedures that we’d follow to determine the level of that threat at that moment,” Goff told WYDaily. “Part of our safety procedures is that we don’t make them public.”

Ward said a few students have been interviewed regarding the investigation but there are not pending charges since it is unclear who wrote the threat.

The sheriff’s office posted very few details about the incident on its Facebook page at 6:16 p.m. Thursday.

WYDaily attempted to contact Goff multiple times prior to her response. She was unavailable Thursday afternoon.

Bonnie Gray, secretary of the YCSD, said Goff was out of the office for the afternoon and she would call WYDaily the following morning.

“There is nothing further that I can disclose other than the information already out there,” Gray said. “Parents were contacted and informed about what is going on.”

WYDaily also left voicemails with all four members of the school board and the superintendent.

James Richardson, chairman of the school board, responded to WYDaily and said the school district and other divisions has had “stuff” like this before and it happens from time to time.

“All I know is there was a threat and the sheriff’s office is investigating,” he said.

This is the second time Goff did not immediately respond to voicemails from WYDaily about an ongoing issue regarding a York County school. Two weeks ago, a shell casing was found at Grafton Middle School.

Goff did not return voice messages about the shell casing but later sent an emailed response to WYDaily.

RELATED STORY: ‘Shell casing’ found at Grafton School Complex, sheriff’s office says

Authorities are asking anyone who may have information about who may have left the bathroom message to call YPSO’s tip line at 757-890-4999 or the Crime Line at 888-LOCK-U-UP.

Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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