Threat involving Lunenburg schools led to Monday closure
Published 6:03 am Monday, September 12, 2022
Editor’s note: Normally, we don’t run Lunenburg stories in The Herald. They stay with our sister paper, the Dispatch. But we received enough emails from local residents, asking what was going on, that it felt like this one needed to be included. As we get updates in the case, we’ll feature those in the newsletter as well.
VICTORIA – There were no school buses running Monday in Lunenburg County. Classes weren’t in session and staff didn’t have to show up. In fact, everything connected to the district was temporarily shut down.
This wasn’t a planned event. In fact, it caught residents by surprise when the school district staff put out a statement Sunday, Sept. 11 just after 8 p.m.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, Lunenburg County Public Schools will be closed tomorrow, September 12, 2022,” the statement said. “All offices will be closed. There will be no after school activities. The school board meeting that was scheduled for tomorrow evening has been postponed. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.”
Here’s what happened. On Sunday, Sept. 11, the Lunenburg County Public Schools (LCPS) staff received information regarding a threat against the district. That led to everything from classes to the school board meeting being canceled.
“Law enforcement requested that we not share details of the threat because it would compromise the investigation,” LCPS officials said in a statement. “This was a joint decision with the Lunenburg Sheriff’s Department and the school system. At the time, there was concern that too much information might cause difficulty in apprehending the suspect(s).”
School district officials added that they wanted to be transparent, but first focused on making sure the threat was addressed.
“Please understand that while we want to be transparent and communicate with families as quickly as possible, addressing the threat and finding the person(s) responsible was our primary goal,” the district’s most recent statement said. “We appreciate the patience of our parents and employees while we have addressed the situation. The investigation is continuing, and the Sheriff’s Department hopes to have a resolution soon.”
More details from the Sheriff’s Office
The Lunenburg County Sheriff’s Office provided more details on Monday afternoon. In a statement, staff said they received the threat by way of the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. Lunenburg County Sheriff Arthur Townsend then reached out to School District Superintendent Charles Berkley. Wanting to err on the side of caution, that’s when Abernathy decided to close all schools and school board offices.
The sheriff then contacted the High Tech Crime Division of the Virginia State Police. Their goal is to investigate the information and locate the source, which they continue to do.
Where do we go from here?
As for what happens next, the goal is for things to get back to normal Tuesday, with some added support.
Meanwhile, it’s back to class for students and teachers.
“LCPS will operate as normal tomorrow with an increased law enforcement presence,” the district’s statement said. “LCPS exercises great caution for the safety of our students, faculty and staff.”
Things will also be back to normal for students attending the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia. After Lunenburg schools shut down Sunday night, the Governor’s School had requested that students from the area stay home today.
Those students will also be welcomed back to class on Tuesday.
Here’s the original story from earlier today.