No threat found at E.C. Glass High School following suspicious phone call

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 11:37 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - “For anyone that thinks that this is something they should or could do, we’re here to tell them that you shouldn’t and we will absolutely address you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law if you choose to do that,” said Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema at a news conference following a lockdown at E.C. Glass High School.

A disturbing phone call from an out-of-state number to the Lynchburg Police Department about a machine gun inside E.C. Glass High School led to a three-hour lockdown as LPD investigated.

“This is a very large campus. If you’ve not been inside these walls before, so there’s a lot of areas and we need to make sure that when we do release the students from a lockdown, that they are being released into a safe environment,” said Zuidema.

The situation was clearly frightening, but LPD’s response time and communication with Lynchburg City Schools leaders was key as the threat was investigated.

“Always nervous when these types of things happen, but also grateful for teamwork; we could not do this without significant teamwork,” said Dr. Crystal Edwards, superintendent of LCS.

It also raised a question about safety in Lynchburg City Schools overall, specifically about metal detectors potentially being put into schools.

“I think we’re in conversation about all different ways to keep our students safe; whether that’s metal detectors, we have some other things planned. I think the biggest thing we can do is again look out for one another and definitely keep our eyes and ears open,” said Edwards.

This wasn’t the only school in the commonwealth with this experience Monday. The FBI and Virginia State Police both say they were made aware of multiple schools experiencing fake phone calls, or swatting, and are assisting in investigations.

LPD and LCS made it clear these threats won’t be tolerated in Lynchburg schools or any other schools across the state.

“Certainly making a threat that there is some type of an active shooter or an individual in the school with a gun, is a felony at a minimum and potentially multiple felonies.”

E.C. Glass will be open Tuesday and there will be counselors available for students and staff who may need to speak with someone about the traumatizing experience.