Al­tria Theater evac­u­ated for ‘safety con­cern’ dur­ing Thomas Jefferson High grad­u­a­tion

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - LOCAL PERSPECTIVES - BY JUSTIN MAT­TINGLY jmat­tingly@times­dis­patch.com (804) 649-6012 Twit­ter: @jmat­tingly306

At­ten­dees of Thomas Jefferson High School’s grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony Wed­nes­day night were sud­denly evac­u­ated from the Al­tria Theater be­cause of a “safety con­cern.”

Rich­mond Public Schools spokes­woman Kenita Bow­ers de­clined to elab­o­rate on the na­ture of the con­cern.

“I am un­able to share any­thing be­yond the state­ment at this time,” she said. “It is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.”

In the state­ment ref­er­enced by Bow­ers, the school sys­tem an­nounced that the cer­e­mony has been resched­uled for 10 a.m. Satur­day and will still be at the Al­tria Theater. Doors will open at 9 a.m.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the flex­i­bil­ity and un­der­stand­ing of all of our grad­u­ates, their fam­i­lies, and staff,” RPS said in the state­ment. “Stu­dent safety is al­ways a top pri­or­ity and RPS looks for­ward to cel­e­brat­ing the grad­u­ates of Thomas Jefferson High School.”

Ta’Quan Grant, the chap­lain of the school’s Class of 2018, said Wed­nes­day night that it’s “a lit­tle frus­trat­ing” to have his grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony post­poned.

“We’re up­set that now we have to wait for our grad­u­a­tion to be resched­uled due to stu­pid­ity,” he said.

The cer­e­mony will be the last grad­u­a­tion of Rich­mond’s five com­pre­hen­sive high schools.

Huguenot High School, John Mar­shall High School and Arm­strong High School held their cer­e­monies Tues­day, while Ge­orge Wythe’s cer­e­mony was at 4 p.m. Wed­nes­day.

Three spe­cialty school cer­e­monies are sched­uled for Thurs­day.

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