LUNENBURG COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Lunenburg Sheriff’s Deputies will be stationed at all schools throughout the county on Tuesday to help students and families feel more secure after a threat shut down schools Monday.
“We’ll be there tomorrow to help them feel safe,” said Arthur Townsend, Lunenburg County Sheriff. “My office received a threat against the schools on my Facebook page, The threat said there was intent to shoot the schools in Kenbridge and Victoria.”
Townsend advised the Lunenburg County Public Schools superintendent to close all four schools Monday, including the county’s one high school, one middle school and three elementary schools — including Kenbridge Elementary and Victoria Elementary.
Townsend contacted the Virginia State Police High Tech division to see where the threatening message came from and who the sender was. That is still under investigation, police say.
Lunenburg County Public Schools superintendent Charles Berkley did not return a call asking for comment.
A public comment from the Lunenburg County Public Schools posted online read in part:
“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. At the time, there was concern that too much information might cause difficulty in apprehending the suspect(s).
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.
A follow-up message will be provided by the Lunenburg Sheriff’s Department shortly. State Police are also investigating the case. In the meantime, LCPS will operate as normal tomorrow with an increased law enforcement presence. LCPS exercises great caution for the safety of our students, faculty and staff.”
But for Amanda Sebester, a parent of a 9-year-old elementary-age student in Lunenburg County, the text messages she and other parents received were not sufficient and too vague, making her fear there was a threat. She also doesn’t think there is enough law enforcement staff to cover the county and all four schools to make her feel comfortable enough to send her child to school on Tuesday.
But Townsend’s staff presence at the county’s schools tomorrow is meant to reassure the community of their safety.
“My message is that we’re actively investigating the matter,” Townsend said. “We’re asking for the community’s patience. We can’t say if [the threat] is real.”