Guns found at Blacksburg Middle School, classes canceled for today
By Anna L. Mallory and Shawna Morrison | The Roanoke Times
A middle school student who brought two handguns and ammunition to school has forced the cancelation of classes for Blacksburg High School students, who attend classes in the same building.
School officials found the weapons at 12:26 p.m., according to a news release from Blacksburg police. A 13-year-old is in police custody, the release said.
Middle school students finished classes as normal, said Walt Shannon, assistant superintendent of operations for the school system.
But classes for high school students were canceled while the building is searched for additional weapons, which is standard procedure, Shannon said.
High school students have been attending classes during a second shift at Blacksburg Middle School because the roof over the high school's gymnasium collapsed Feb. 13. That closed the school while the remaining building's structural integrity is assessed.
Middle school students leave classes at about 1:30 p.m. High schoolers then begin classes at 2 p.m. and school ends at 7:15 p.m.
It was the first major gun-related incident in the school system in about three years.
In 2007, three teens were charged and convicted in two separate gun-related incidents at Montgomery County middle schools.
In March 2007, two Auburn Middle School students, ages 14 and 15, plotted to kill four people, including the principal and the school resource officer. One took a gun to school.
The next month, a 14-year-old Blacksburg Middle School student tried to sell stolen guns to other students at the school on at least three different days. No one bought any.
In the Auburn incident, Jessee Collins and Dylan McCroskey were convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, among other charges. They were charged after another student reported that they had talked about killing people.
Montgomery County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Marc Long sentenced Collins, who had a violent history that included torturing and killing animals, to an indefinite term in the Department of Juvenile Justice, which can keep children until age 21.
McCroskey received a suspended sentence and was ordered to perform community service and to probation. His attorney had argued that McCroskey, who testified that he didn't know Collins had brought a gun to school, shouldn't be convicted of a felony.
But Long said in court, "Anybody who has anything to do with guns in school is going to get convicted."
"Guns at school are just despicable, the horror that can be created with them," Long said.
In the Blacksburg Middle incident, Zach Taylor was sentenced to six months detention. He was turned in by his mother after she found that he had guns in his possession.