By MELINDA WILLIAMS
GILES COUNTY – Speculation on an Internet website that Narrows schools might be targeted for a mass shooting like the one in Connecticut in December prompted the closing of Giles County schools today.
While authorities stressed that no specific threats have been received against Narrows Elementary and Middle School and Narrows High School, schools were closed as a precaution to make sure safety measures are enforce when students return to school Thursday.
Teachers will hold a workday today.
Giles County Schools Superintendent Dr. Terry Arbogast II states in a message to parents and guardians that Virginia State Police made the school system and law enforcement in Narrows and Giles County aware of the Internet comments Thursday evening, Dec. 27.
The website, which remains active, suggests the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. might be linked to the Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rising,” because of a reference to “Sandy Hook” as a strike zone on a map in the movie. Another strike zone map in the movie references “Narrows.”
The author of the online article in question states, “The next strike zone on the map is ‘Narrows’ and just on a hunch I entered ‘Narrows schools’” into a Google search and found the Giles County schools.
“This made me cringe when I saw a match and I hope there is no relationship to the map and another school massacre. I hope the professionals in law enforcement read this post and take the appropriate measures to protect the innocent, young and old (just as a precaution),” the author adds.
Arbogast said the school system has been meeting with Narrows Police Department and Giles County Sheriff’s Office in light of the information “to discuss the issue further.”
He said, “Additional precautions have been taken for the immediate future and additional safeguards will be installed at each of our facilities in the near future.”
The website article also attempts to link the Sandy Hook shooting to the mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo. theatre last July in which 12 people were killed during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rising.” It asks whether the reference to Sandy Hook is a coincidence or “a subtle blue print being followed by sick individuals?”
An update posted to the article Wednesday afternoon points out, “There is also a ‘Narrows’ located in New York City” so the author’s theory that Virginia schools might be targeted for a massacre could be “moot.”