Lunenburg Schools closed Monday due to shooting threat, superintendent says

LCPS said it was notified of the threat on Sept. 11 and decided to cancel school and activities for the safety of students, faculty and staff.
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 2:04 PM EDT
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LUNENBURG Co., Va. (WWBT) - Lunenburg County Public Schools said it closed on Monday after the sheriff’s office was notified of a school system threat.

Lunenburg Superintendent Charles Berkley told NBC12 that the closure stemmed from a school shooting threat on Facebook.

The sheriff’s office says they received the threat Sunday morning and promptly notified the school division. The decision was made to close the school and all activities to err on caution.

But in the hours that followed that initial threat, parents say the school only told them that an unforeseen circumstance was why the school day was canceled. The lack of transparency worried parents like Travis Meadows.

“A million things go through your mind,” Meadows said. “My kid’s safety at school, what’s going on, are they safe? I’m sure a lot of parents didn’t sleep last night.”

Meadows and other families wouldn’t get their first answer until after 2 p.m. Monday afternoon when the superintendent sent an email providing more details.

The letter read in part that law enforcement requested that we not share details of the threat because it would compromise the investigation.

“This was a joint decision with the Lunenburg Sheriff’s Department and the school system,” the school division said in a statement. “At the time, there was concern that too much information might cause difficulty in apprehending the suspect(s).”

Meadows said the communication delay did a lot more harm than good.

“I mean, I know they don’t want parents to freak out and all, but not knowing is sometimes worse than knowing what’s really going on,” Meadows said.

Virginia State Police are also investigating the situation.

“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. 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,” LCPS.

LCPS said it would operate normally on Tuesday but with an increased law enforcement presence. But Meadows says he won’t send his kids to school until he receives more answers from the authorities.

“Our kids won’t be going to school at all. I’m not sending them ins this week,” Meadows said. “How can you send a kid back to school knowing they’re scared?

Lunenburg Sherrif Arthur Townsend said the office is trying to determine the source of the threat and if it’s credible.

“There must be an IP address out there that we’re trying to check,” Townsend said. “We contacted the state police’s high-tech crime division, and they’re going to come down and look at it to see if they can find out where this information came from.”

At this time, Townsend is asking anyone with information to reach out to crime stoppers at 434-696-3100 or the sheriff’s office directly.