‘These are just drills’: Lunenburg schools hold lockdown practice

Published 6:14 am Tuesday, November 14, 2023

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There’s a good chance at some point this week, you’ll hear about a lockdown involving a school in Lunenburg County. To be clear, these are just drills. That’s something Lunenburg Schools Superintendent Dr. Sharon Stanislas and her staff want to emphasize. 

Specifically, there will be lockdown drills taking place in each of the county schools at some point during this week. In case you’re wondering why that’s taking place, it’s because of state law. The Code of Virginia orders it, in fact. 

Section 22.1-137.2 of the Code of Virginia requires that “in every public school, there shall be a lock-down drill at least once during the first 20 school days of each school session, in order that students and teachers may be thoroughly practiced in such drills.” 

So ok, that first 20 days has long since come and gone. Why hold more drills now? Because that section of the Code calls for at least two more lockdown drills after the first 60 days of the semester. Now that we’ve crossed into November, that 60 day period has come and gone. For some students, this will actually be the first drills they’ve taken part in during the school year. The Code exempts all pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students from lockdown drills during the first 60 days of school. But again, now that we’ve crossed the 60 day line, they’ll have to practice, just like the rest of the district. 

Lunenburg schools put out notice

The district had to put the notice out at least 24 hours before the drills started, as that’s another requirement in the Code. Lunenburg officials also wanted to avoid a situation like the one that happened in August 2022 in Prince Edward County. Nobody informed parents of a routine drug dog drill at Prince Edward High. As a result, rumors of everything from a shooting to a bomb threat spread, with parents showing up to remove children from the situation. Eventually, the Prince Edward school district put out a statement.