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Security beefed up at Western Tidewater schools

Published 10:42am Monday, December 17, 2012

FRANKLIN—The Southampton County Sheriff’s Office this morning beefed up its presence at county schools by patrolling around Meherrin, Capron, Nottoway and Riverdale elementary schools.

In Franklin Public Schools, administrators spent Sunday evening reviewing the district’s crisis plan.

“We will do the same with teachers today,” said Franklin Superintendent Dr. Michelle Belle. “We just want people to have a third eye on things, to be more mindful.”

Caution is being taken after Friday’s massacre of 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Gunman Adam Lanza, 20, took his own life after the rampage that started earlier in the morning when he killed his mother.

The sheriff’s office received a request from Southampton County Public Schools for extra security, said Major Gene Drewery. The office already has an officer assigned to the middle and high schools on a daily basis.

At the elementary schools, “we will be showing a presence with random patrols,” Drewery said. “We expect to continue until they go on Christmas break.”

Superintendent Dr. Alvera Parrish notified the sheriff’s office after listening to the media over the weekend and talking to colleagues.

“I’m just feeling the sense of anxiety with parents and anticipated what the students may feel as well,” Parrish said. “We just want to take precautions the next couple of days. When something like this happens, it kind of heightens all of our awareness.”

Students were greeted by officers on Monday morning, and central office administrators were spread out among the schools.

Every school in the district has cameras in place. Visitors must look into a camera before a school employee buzzes them in.

As for Franklin schools, J.P. King Middle and S.P. Morton Elementary schools have buzz-in security systems in place. A similar system is being installed at Franklin High School, Belle said.

Franklin does not have an officer in the schools on a daily basis.

“I’m sure some teachers have a little anxiety,” Belle said Monday. “We just wanted to do a refresher on lockdowns for intruders.”

The Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office on Friday increased patrols around the county and its schools, said Kenita Bowers, coordinator for community affairs and media relations with the school district.

“We were very pleased to hear that,” Bowers said. “They were on top of it and being proactive in light of what happened.”

Parents were notified of the strengthened security through e-mails and phone messages.

On Monday morning, students arrived to find an officer outside every school.

“I’ve gotten some phone calls from parents who had questions when they saw a police officer at the school,” Bowers said, noting parents then explained to their children why police were around.

Deputies will patrol during the day and be at each school when children leave for the day.



  • happycamper

    The horrible tradegy in CT is likely to become this decade’s “9/11″. We will have huge arguments about “gun control”. We’ll spend untold dollars on security for schools; gates, steel doors, cameras, keycard systems, hiring (ironically) guards with guns, and on and on.

    While the shooting at Sandy Hook is horrible and senseless, we seem to always seek to place blame where it doesn’t belong. Sensible efforts to provide security are prudent. Taking it to the extreme is money thrown down a rathole.

    We will NEVER be able to legislate morality. And … regardless of our fondest desires, we will NEVER be able to “assure parents of security” in schools or anyplace else. We live in a world that has an element of evil. That evil will overcome all our gun laws, locks, and security systems. We need to keep our common sense intact following such events as occurred yesterday. However, I’m finding more and more as I get older, common sense is VERY uncommon these days!

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  • Liberty With Responsibility

    The Connecticut guy was NOT “buzzed in!” He blasted a hole in the glass and walked through apparently. Do we have glass doors and big windows in our schools? If so, we are no different and no safer than they were in Connecticut.

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  • chilimac72

    The security was boosted because of potential copy-cat crimes. A long term increase is a burden on the law enforcement agencies. That is why the security was “beefed up” BECAUSE. If you believe the added measures should be installed on a continued basis, be prepared to pay more in taxes and go to your representative to insist on it. You have to think thing through on the long term, not just knee jerk react for the sake of reacting.

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    I think it’s a shame security has been beefed up at my son’s school BECAUSE of the mass shooting killing 20 beloved children and 6 teachers. Security should be present everyday!! But, I am so very thankful Southampton Sheriffs Office decided to put someone there today.

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  • RoyDeSoto

    So exactly what criteria is involved in deciding whether or not to let someone into the schools based on them “looking into the camera?” Answer: None unless they are waving a gun around or holding a can of gas and a lighter. Seriously?!? Based upon my extensive personal experience, everyone gets buzzed in so they can go to the office (or whereever they want in reality) and state their business. Of course, if their business is to kill as many people as possible (with the guns and ammunition they have under their coat or in a backpack), they have been given their wish. It will simply be a replay of Sandy Hook. Until our society figures out how to convince these sick people to not do such horrendous things, we need to immediately BAN ALL GUN FREE MURDER ZONES and allow citizens to carry their lawfully owned self defense firearms EVERYWHERE they choose. “Gun Free Zones” are an abject public policy failure as they only affect law abiding citizens. Conversely, there are numerous examples of citizens with pistols who have stopped gumnen with rifles. Clackamas OR, legally armed citizen draws gun on rifle armed active shooter but does not fire due to innocents behind him, nonetheless shooter withdraws and commits suicide. New Life church CO armed volunteer security member Jeanne Assam shoots down rifle armed active shooter, causing him to commit suicide. Pearl MS vice principal retrieves pistol from car, apprehending rifle armed active shooter and holds him for police. Tyler TX courthouse complex, citizen Mark Wilson engages rifle armed active shooter, drawing fire away from shooter’s son and police, and causing shooter to break off attack and withdraw. Israel stopped terrorist attacks against school children instantly when they armed their teachers and field trip chaperones with pistols and rifles. The inconvenient truth and lessons are here. Armed defenders save lives, gun free zones do not.

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    • blackwaterpete

      Well Old Roy I agree. IMHO Beefing up a partrol around a EE ZONE is a joke. Listen Admin winnies!!!!! A JOKE! I am sure the boy looked at the sign that said GUN FREE ZONE and thought about it before he entered. For god sakes when are you morons going to get a brain. GUN FREE keeps those who could protect out of there not the ones who will kill!!!!! It is the liberals who put up the signs and think everyone will follow them. Well Sandy Hook proved those idiots wrong. And now we are going to have the same idiot liberals pushing gun control again and again. Yep Obama voters here is your sign! I AM A MORON!

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