ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — Arlington Public Schools (APS) parents are raising concerns, after a student was caught bringing a weapon to school, along with other reported threats of violence.
A student brought a taser to Swanson Middle School last week, which resulted in emails to school staff from worried parents. Now, Arlington Public Schools says they are taking the necessary steps to keep the school safe.
“I want to assure you that we take these incidents seriously and remain committed to ensuring all students, teachers and staff feel safe, secure, and supported,” read an email to parents from the school system. “APS has a zero-tolerance policy for students who bring weapons, or items that can be used as weapons, to school. Students who have engaged in these behaviors have been administered consequences in accordance with the APS Code of Conduct.”
The school system says they are increasing staffing to better monitor student behavior, in addition to prioritizing learning about mental health to all grade levels. School staff are also asking students to report any suspicious activity.
Despite the new efforts from Swanson Middle School staff, parent Karen Simpson is asking the school to do more, saying her daughter is scared to head to class.
“She goes, ‘Mom, I just don’t feel that comfortable,'” said Simpson. “I’m not sure what the appropriate solutions may be, or what the appropriate strategies may be. That’s for them to decide, but we just need to have some tools to handle these situations.”
APS says they will make referrals to law enforcement when students bring weapons to school, per the Code of Virginia.
Ashley Savage from the Arlington County Police Department tells WDVM that “ACPD did not receive a call for service regarding the taser incident” from Swanson Middle School. Savage says not all calls for service “result in evidence of a crime/a case report.” Police have been called to the school 22 times from May 2021 to April 1, 2022.
APS says these types of incidents are increasing in the community. School officials say student conflicts often originate outside of school and are asking parents to check in with their children at home before these conflicts escalate.