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As threats surface, school safety plans get fresh review

South Boston News
Law enforcement and emergency services personnel meet with school administrators to discuss safety. / February 22, 2018

In the wake of last week’s mass shooting at a Florida high school — and coinciding with vague threats at local schools — Halifax County school officials and local law enforcement gathered for a second meeting since July to discuss school safety.

Participating agencies included Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, Town of Halifax Police Department, South Boston Police Department, Virginia State Police, Halifax County Emergency Services, the South Boston Fire Department, Commonwealth’s Attorney, Halifax County School Board and school administration.

Superintendent of Schools Mark Lineburg said the purpose of the meeting was two-fold: “to look things could be done immediately to improve student safety, and what can be done in the long-term.”

Lineburg wants county residents to know that the school system is committed to the safety of the students and is working very hard to address anything and everything needed to keep our children safe.

Items on the short-list for implementation include:

an Anonymous Tip-lines by the end of next week,

providing school access swipe cards to all law enforcement within the next two weeks

a review of each school’s crisis management plan

a community forum to be held within the next two weeks

the addition of extra school resource officers and additional or upgraded cameras for the middle and high school

a school safety audit by law enforcement

a threat assessment process review

crisis team training with law enforcement

regular perimeter safety checks

and random use of metal detectors already installed.

Long-term plans include looking and applying for safety grants; developing and implementing social media awareness programs at the schools; and ensuring an ongoing dialogue with the community about what is being done about school safety and how the community can help.

Lineburg and HCHS principal Michael Lewis both echoed the same theme: “See Something — Say Something.”

The meeting came after the deaths of 17 students and adults last week at a high school in Parkland, Fla., where the alleged shooter was a 19-year-old who was previously expelled from the school. In the past week, threatened shootings and possible copycat incidents have surfaced in waves across Virginia and the nation. In Virginia, a dozen school divisions from Hampton Roads to southwest Russell County were forced to interrupt classes due to threats.

In addition to a lockdown yesterday at HCHS and HCMS, Halifax schools have encountered a threat at Cluster Springs that was deemed without substance following an investigation of the incident.

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Good start but the see something say somthing is ripe for abuse. Need to ensure that any action is based upon CREDIBLE evidence. And any deliberate false reports be charged as well. School cameras must always work and no delays. All deputies and pd dept receive annual active shooter response training that utilizes high stress training. Cardinal justice academy is half a&$ and judging how sobo handled a recent situation that involved negligence that resulted in sobo pd paying large moneys training must be first rate.

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