Report of weapon compelled schools’ lockdown

Published 7:09 pm Friday, November 22, 2019

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The report of a student bringing a weapon to Southampton High School on Friday launched an immediate lockdown shortly before noon on Friday. As a precautionary measure, the adjoining middle school was soon secured with no one allowed to enter or leave either facilities.

Lt. Camden Cobb, a spokesman for the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office, told The Tidewater News via email that the aforementioned student had been identified and separated from classmates. No weapon was found on the suspect, and the schools were searched using deputies and K-9 units.

Supt. Dr. Gwendolyn Shannon later told the paper that another student had made the report.

No actual weapon was found, but what was discovered was a plastic Airsoft gun. These are realistic-looking replicas of actual weapons, such as rifles, and are used in airsoft games. The toys are not intended either to injure or kill.

That student — a juvenile — was put into the custody of the Southampton County Sheriff’s office. Shannon had added appropriate disciplinary actions have been taken.

The lockdown was ended shortly before 2 p.m., and school operations resumed.

Both the school administration and division are continuing to work with the Sheriff’s Office in the investigation.

“The quick steps taken today by school administration, in collaboration with the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office, were to ensure the safety and security of all students and staff,” Shannon stated. “I appreciate your support of our school division as we continue to be vigilant in ensuring a safe learning environment for all students and staff.”