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Deputies keeping close eye on York County Schools following series of incidents

York-Poquoson Sheriff Ron Montgomery said there is no direct threat to the York County School Division, its faculty, or students.

YORK COUNTY, Va. — Back-to-back investigations are keeping people on alert with the York County School Division.

After investigators say a group of third graders found a bag of bullets at Yorktown Elementary School's pick-up location, deputies say another student found a bullet in the same place about a day later. 

York-Poquoson Sheriff Ron Montgomery said it came shortly before students at a nearby middle school found a threatening note inside the bathroom.

"In the threat, it did talk about shooting at the school and as a result of that, we took K-9s there and during the course of the investigation, one of our dogs did find two rounds behind some bushes in front of the school, but no firearms were found," Montgomery clarified.

A spokeswoman for York County School Division says staff acted quickly when reporting both the bullets and the threatening note found by students, saying, "The division has extensive safety measures in place, which are reviewed and assessed following any incident on a school campus."

All of this happened right before deputies say Yorktown Elementary School teacher, Stacey Ames, aggressively mishandled a 5-year-old girl.

"Another teacher who was outside in the hallway witnessed Mrs. Ames, in her description, fairly violently lift the child up by the arms lift her up off the ground, and throw her approximately two feet," Montgomery explained. "The girl landed on her feet and fell, but she is okay. We interviewed everyone involved, including the child's parents, and Mrs. Ames."

Montgomery said this report on Friday also brought attention to another incident where another school employee claimed Ames acted similarly with a student. He said deputies arrested Ames and charged her with two counts of simple assault and battery. 

A parent of two children who had Ames as their teacher called the 53-year-old a "wonderful teacher" who helped her children succeed in school. She went on to say, "I am devastated for her, her family, and for the kids in class."

The school division's spokeswoman sent a statement the Superintendent wrote to parents, saying: 

"The York County School Division and Yorktown Elementary School are committed to providing safe, secure and caring learning environments for our students. As educators, we are entrusted with the well-being of the children in our care every day. We expect our staff to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times, and any time there is a question of safety or misconduct, we immediately investigate. 

The division is working closely with the Sheriff’s Office in the ongoing investigation. The staff member will not be permitted on campus while this investigation is ongoing and we will follow division policy regarding employment status."

Sheriff Montgomery said they are keeping a close eye on the schools as they investigate each incident.

"We have increased our presence, particularly at the elementary schools, since there are no SROs there. We are much more active on the school campuses, than we have been in the past right now because of some of the incidents that have occurred with our neighboring schools," Montgomery explained, referring to the shooting at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News.

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