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ACHS Principal says students will face disciplinary action for skipping school to go to nearby shopping centers

Police at the Bradlee Shopping Center where and 18-year-old was stabbed and killed on May 24 (staff photo by James Cullum)

Ahead of the start of the new school year, Alexandria City High School (ACHS) Principal Alexander Duncan issued a warning reminder that students are “discouraged” from going to nearby shopping centers during school hours.

The specific shopping center isn’t named, but it’s no secret that the Bradlee Shopping Center has been afflicted with violence in recent years linked to students from the nearby ACHS. There have been multiple shootings and brawls, including one that ended with the murder of 18-year-old Luis Mejia Hernandez in the parking lot of the Bradlee Shopping Center.

“Students are strongly discouraged from patronizing local shopping centers or establishments during school hours (unless permission has been received per the process shared above),” Duncan said in a message to ACHS students and families. “This constitutes ‘skipping class’ and is in direct violation of our attendance policy and the Student Code of Conduct.”

Duncan said that ACHS is partnering with the Alexandria Police Department and the shopping centers to increase police presence and deter truancy. The new ACHS Principal said the concern is not only about safety and security, but students missing vital instructional time.

“Please be advised that students will face disciplinary consequences by ACHS administration for intentionally missing class to patronize local shopping centers, and will also be held accountable for any behaviors when they are supposed to be in school,” Duncan said. “I am confident that we all agree that our students need to be in their classrooms engaged in learning.”

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