Superintendent Explains Rumor

Published 4:31 pm Thursday, February 14, 2013

BUCKINGHAM – Tuesday's school board meeting began with an explanation by Superintendent Cecil Snead regarding what he described as a rumor that apparently originated in Prince Edward County.

Dr. Snead advised that earlier in the day he received notification from Roger Coleman, principal of Buckingham County High School, concerning some information he had received.

The superintendent explained that in dealing with the information, he sent out an email to school administrators and posted it on the school division's website.

Email newsletter signup

Sharing that information, Snead read, “We became aware, this morning, of a rumor that occurred in Prince Edward County regarding that a student allegedly made threatening references to do harm to those attending Buckingham County Public Schools.

“Immediately, Buckingham law enforcement started its investigation. Buckingham law enforcement communicated with Prince Edward law enforcement. Prince Edward had already investigated and concluded the investigation by Monday evening.

“Buckingham law enforcement found no reference to Buckingham County Public Schools; only references to Prince Edward County Public Schools. Prince Edward found no evidence of weapons and assured its public that no Prince Edward student or staff was ever at risk.

“I, as Superintendent of Buckingham County Schools, contacted the Superintendent of Prince Edward County Public Schools to ascertain the credibility of the information. I have every confidence that the rumor in Prince Edward spread to Buckingham through certain social media. I am also certain that this incident suggests no harm to student and staff. Please rest assured that high vigilance is being placed on the security of our buildings as we will continue to take precautionary measures.”

After reading the statement, Snead added that school administrators also sent copies of the message home with their students.

“So, those are the actions that we took,” advised Snead. “I just wanted to make that statement to let you know that the personnel of Buckingham County Public Schools have and forever will be first and foremost at the helm of keeping our children protected and investigating every piece of information that we get. He added that included rumors, which he said in some instances lead to some semblance of truth. “Fortunately, in this instance it did not,” he stated.

Continuing, Snead offered, “That does not mean that we are not going to be diligent in the upcoming days-given the times that we live in.” He added, “We want to give that assurance to all of our community members.”

Snead told the school board he also sent the initial email to the county administrator and law enforcement. He added that he made a follow-up phone call to Prince Edward's superintendent as a courtesy to let him know the content of the statement.

Noting that a Richmond TV station and a local radio station had contacted him, Snead said the announcement was shared with them, too.

“My point is I want all channels of information to be consistent and that is why we created the statement,” offered Snead. He told the board, “Since our children are our number one concern, it is important to understand how we dealt with that situation.”