Va. 13-year-old facing felony charges after chemical explosives found in locker

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A 13-year-old Landstown Middle School student is facing felony charges after authorities say explosives were found in his locker last week.

The Virginia Beach Fire Department says the student was taken into custody Friday afternoon and was held in juvenile detention over the weekend.

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Fire department officials say the student has been charged with two counts of manufacturing and possessing chemical explosive devices. The student is also facing disciplinary action from Virginia Beach City Public Schools.

One parent said she was upset to learn details of what happened at her daughter’s school on social media.

“I’m mad. I’m mad at the school,” Stephanie Kelly said.

A student told Cummings she didn’t know what happened.

“I feel like the principal and the staff should have let us know so we could be more careful around school,” sixth grader Brieana Addison said.

A spokesperson with the school district said that administrators at the school received a report at the end of the day Thursday, May 4, about suspicious materials in a locker.

The spokesperson said Landstown’s principal alerted parents through an Alert Now phone call Friday at 6:30 p.m., once the investigation was wrapping up.

“In that message, the principal encouraged parents to remind their children of the importance of sharing information school officials when they become aware of it; in essence – ‘see something, say something,’” said Eileen Cox, Virginia Beach Schools Spokeswoman.

“The recorded message from the principal stated that it was a hazardous material,” Kelly said. “I’m like, ‘What does that mean?’ I mean, be more descriptive… As a parent, we have the right to know what’s going on especially when it’s something dangerous involving our kids.”

A school division spokeswoman explained through email to Cummings that the principal wanted to make families aware of the report and share the school’s response – that’s why they called. However, the investigation wasn’t complete so, “it was not appropriate to share additional information.”

“I was scared but more mad about the way the school handled it because they didn’t contact or notify anybody in a timely fashion in my opinion,” Kelly said.

A school division spokesperson said, “If parents did not receive a call, they should confirm that a current phone number is on file with the school and that they have not ‘opted out’ of receiving messages.”

According to a news release from the fire department, investigators found no evidence thus far that leads them to believe the juvenile had any malicious intent for the explosives or had any intention of harming anyone or using the devices at the school.

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