SCPS to shut down Sept. 24 due to threat

Published 9:16 pm Thursday, September 23, 2021

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Southampton County Public Schools notified parents Thursday, Sept. 23, that in response to a threat and amid recent events throughout Hampton Roads, the school system will be closed Friday, Sept. 24.

This information was conveyed to parents through a text message with a link to a letter from SCPS Superintendent Dr. Gwendolyn P. Shannon that provided more information.

The letter, directed to students, staff, parents and community members, opened by stating, “Today, after the dismissal of all schools, the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office informed me that a threat was made on social media against (the) Southampton County Public School Division. The threat did not cite a specific school.”

Shannon stated that as a precautionary measure coupled with the recent occurrences throughout Hampton Roads and the Greater Tidewater Area, the school division decided to close school for students on Sept. 24 as the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office conducts its investigation.

“The Southampton County Sheriff’s Office is working collaboratively with other agencies to investigate the threat,” Shannon wrote. “School officials and district administration are assisting law enforcement and will continue to take all necessary steps to protect our students and staff.

“As always, the safety of our students and community is paramount,” she continued. “We will remain vigilant in doing all within our power to keep students and staff out of harm’s way. Our belief remains, ‘See something, say something.’”

She closed by stating that if anyone has any information regarding this and any other threats, they should contact the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office at 757-653-2100.

The recent occurrences throughout Hampton Roads and the Greater Tidewater Area that Shannon referred to are numerous.

Among them, on Monday, Sept. 20, there was a shooting at Heritage High School in Newport News that injured two students.

Over a roughly 24-hour time period earlier this week, there were threats made toward three schools in the City of Suffolk — Lakeland High School, Nansemond River High School and King’s Fork Middle School.

Police in Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach are investigating multiple threats made on social media, and a Hampton man was arrested Tuesday, Sept. 21, for making threats to Phoebus High School in Hampton.

On Sept. 23, Franklin Police were at Franklin High School assisting school administration with an investigation regarding the possibility of a student with a weapon.