Southampton High locked down due to possible weapon

Published 1:08 pm Thursday, December 9, 2021

UPDATE: Police have now issued an “all clear” following an investigation into this matter. To learn more click here.

Southampton County Public Schools announced shortly before 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 9, that Southampton High School was on lockdown due to a student possibly having a weapon and contraband on campus.

Gwendolyn P. Shannon

In a phone message addressed to students, staff and community members, SCPS Superintendent Dr. Gwendolyn P. Shannon said, “It has been brought to my attention that the administration of Southampton High School was made aware this morning that a student may have a weapon and contraband on campus. We have instituted a lockdown, and the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office has deputies on campus who are searching the building. If reasonable suspicion is established, school administrators will search students according to our board policy.”

Maj. Camden Cobb, chief deputy of Southampton County Sheriff’s Office, echoed much of this information in an office press release, noting that a student at the high school may have brought a weapon to school. Both Cobb and Shannon emphasized the word “may.”

Cobb stated that the information prompted officials to initiate a lockdown for everyone’s safety until further investigation can be completed. 

“No one will be leaving the building until the lockdown is lifted,” he stated. “Anyone responding to the school will be directed to the football field until the lockdown is lifted. Again, no one is currently being allowed in or out of the school. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”

In her phone message, Shannon addressed parents of students directly, conveying more practical details of the lockdown.

“Parents, we know that you will experience multiple emotions due to this message,” she said. “However, at this time, no children can check out of school due to the lockdown and our efforts to maintain the integrity of the search. The entrance of the building is being kept clear for any emergency vehicles. Once the search is complete, (SHS Interim Principal) Dr. (MeChelle) Blunt or I will update you.”

She stated that school officials and district administration are working with law enforcement to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to protect students and staff. 

“We will have an increased police presence in our schools as the search and lockdown ensues until a reasonable resolution is reached,” she continued. “As always, the safety of our students and community is paramount. We will remain vigilant in doing all within our power to keep students and staff out of harm’s way.”

She noted that the approach of school administration to matters of concern, like a possible weapon at school, remains as follows — see something, say something. 

She asked that if anyone has any information about the current matter, they should contact the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office at 757-653-2100, Southampton High School at 757-653-2751 or the Southampton County School Board Office at 757-653-2692.

“Again, if you see something, if you know something, please say something,” she said.