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Student suspended after threat

A John Yeates Middle School student has been suspended for 10 days pending a hearing after allegedly posting a threatening statement on social media, school officials said.

The Snapchat post said, “Tomorrow I’m going to SHOOT UP JYMS,” according to an email from school division spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw. It was reportedly posted on Sunday evening, Oct. 22.

A Nansemond River High School student spotted the post and shared it with her mother, who arrived at John Yeates at 6:30 a.m. Monday to report it, according to Bradshaw’s email.

The male student’s name was also posted, so administrators quickly identified the student. When the student’s bus arrived, two administrators and the School Resource Officer met the bus, but he was not on the bus, according to Bradshaw’s email.

By 7:15 a.m., officers had arrived at the eighth grader’s house, and the mother gave consent to search the house for a weapon, the email stated. No weapon was found.

“It’s important for our students and parents and community members to recognize the seriousness of troublesome social media comments and potential threats, and to take them seriously and immediately report them to the school and police,” Bradshaw stated in her email.

A fire alarm that went off at the school Monday morning was not related to the threat but rather was triggered by a faulty sensor on the smoke detector in the auditorium, according to Bradshaw’s email.

John Yeates Principal Shawn Green sent a letter home to parents on Monday, also encouraging parents to talk with their children about threatening posts.

“I want to make you aware that a possible threat was made towards John Yeates Middle School, through social media,” Green wrote. “The police were immediately notified of this incident, an investigation was initiated, and the student was identified and located.

“Please discuss with your child the importance of notifying a teacher, administrator, or staff member when he/she knows of a situation that could threaten school safety,” Green added.