Lockdown practice returns for schools

Published 8:00 am Thursday, February 1, 2024

There’s a good chance at some point next 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 next 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.”

Thanks to the winter weather we’ve had already this year, next week still qualifies as within the first 20 school days. And you can expect a couple more this spring. Why? Because that section of the Code calls for at least two more lockdown drills after the first 60 days of the semester. Now kindergarten and pre-K students won’t be involved in this round, as the Code exempts both classes during the first 60 days of school in a semester. But for later this year, once we’ve cross 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.