To the editor:
In my inbox on Feb. 13 I found in part the following:
“We are writing to inform you that a T.C. Williams High School student was arrested today for his alleged involvement in a crime that occurred outside of the City of Alexandria and our community… ”
I later found out that the alleged crime was a double murder and that the Virginia State Police arrested the suspect in the school. In addition, per a frightened student witness, there was a FBI presence and some form of a lock down, contrary to Principal Peter Balas’ assurance to parents. There is a lack of transparency and information about what actually took place, and important questions need to be answered.
Could the arrest have been made outside the school, without risk to around 3,000 students?
Did the authorities knowingly allow a double homicide suspect to enter the school to arrest him with 3,000 unsuspecting students in the school?
The email stated that the situation was “handled today according to protocol, and the safety and security of our students and staff were never at risk.” I think the arrest and the stated policy should be publicly investigated by the appropriate city authorities including city council to answer these and other questions.
Let’s be clear, at no time is an arrest more important than the health, safety and welfare of our children – both the psychological and physical health, safety and welfare.
Alexandria City Public Schools admitted this risk with the statement: “Counselors will be available for students and staff members at the school over the next few days … additional security will be in place at the school tomorrow.” A school should be a safe learning environment, and students shouldn’t be worried about their safety and security.
The statement also said, “Protecting members of our school community is always our top priority.” It appears from the information gleaned so far that the top priority was for the convenience, health, safety and welfare of the police over the students.
I think we are fortunate that more injury to our students didn’t occur, given the circumstances.
-Chris Hubbard, Alexandria