EdNews Virginia | February 3, 2023
The Arlington County Police Department announced the arrest of 18-year-old Kenan Owens following yesterday’s “lockdown” incident at Wakefield High School. According to a news release, he was arrested earlier today, and is currently being held without bond. Owens is now charged with trespassing, in addition to several firearms-related offenses.
“The preliminary investigation indicates the suspect allegedly entered the school and attempted to locate the juvenile victim whom he had an ongoing dispute with,” county police said in today’s statement. “Witnesses reported this information to school administration who then contacted police. The suspect fled the scene prior to police arrival and was later observed in the victim’s neighborhood.”
A mass email issued today from Arlington Public Schools thanked first responders and the school community. “Yesterday was a difficult day for all involved, and we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our students and staff. We appreciate the community’s support and patience during this incident,” the email read.
Yesterday’s lockdown was this week’s second at Wakefield High School. On Tuesday, a 14-year-old student was found unconscious inside a school bathroom and rushed to a local hospital. The student later passed away. Four additional students received medical attention Tuesday for suspected overdoses. Wakefield students were dismissed early on Tuesday, and today’s classes were cancelled.
Drugs, violence and general disorder have plagued Arlington Public Schools lately. In March of last year, ARLnow reported on “a rash of fights, threats of violence and other concerning behaviors” in the school division. Earlier this school year, that same local news outlet warned of ready access to opioids in the county schools. “The only thing I want is for the parents to know that kids can get every kind of drug inside the schools,” a concerned mother told ARLnow’s Jo DeVoe in November.
At last night’s school board meeting, several members of the public voiced their frustration with Arlington Public Schools. “Every single one of you in this room has been told — by parents, teachers, students, PTSA community leaders — that we will have someone die at Wakefield. Since we came back from COVID that has been the constant conversation — and you all failed to address it,” said Wakefield PTSA President Judith Davis. “Stop celebrating your collective lack of performance and reactive leadership. It resulted in a loss of life.”