FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — Students were dismissed early from a Virginia high school after getting a threat on Tuesday, the Stafford County Sheriff's Office said, and it's not the first time the same school has received threats.
Around 12:30 p.m., the sheriff's office received a threat made toward Stafford High School.
The school was being dismissed early out of an abundance of caution, and all students and staff were safe. Deputies and K-9 units were clearing the school.
Law enforcement did not explain the nature of the threat, but a parent who called WUSA9 said it was a bomb threat.
This isn't the first threat made toward Stafford High School.
Last month, a string of threats were made toward three different schools – Dixon-Smith Middle School, Brooke Point High School, and Stafford High School.
All of the threats were deemed unfounded, but in a statement to WUSA9, the Stafford County Sheriff's Office said, "Threats against schools, even if determined to be a swatting incident, is a serious crime with serious consequences."
Two days later, the James Monroe High School Facebook page said an inappropriate social media post was created and shared by as many as five students. Stafford County Public Schools called the post "inappropriate" and said it threatened violence at a football game – which was subsequently forfeited by Stafford High School.
The details of the threat were not made public, but the school district said, "We will take appropriate disciplinary action, and will cooperate fully with the investigation. Law enforcement and area school systems prioritize community safety and take every threat seriously."
In July a law went into effect in Virginia that makes a fake report a class one misdemeanor that is punishable with a fine of up to $2,500 and up to a year behind bars. On top of that, the person responsible for the swatting would have to pay the bill for what was spent by dispatching emergency crews.
If someone is injured or dies as a result of the fake report, the swatter would be charged with a felony.
But Virginia isn't the only one dealing with these cases. In Montgomery County, Maryland Bullis High School was also evacuated Tuesday over a false bomb threat. Investigators believe the incident may be connected to a swatting call that was made last Friday targeting Montgomery Mall. Shoppers were forced out of the commercial space as Montgomery County Police secured the building.