Charlotte County works on reading, writing and lockdown drills

Published 4:53 pm Thursday, September 1, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Years ago, going back to school in Charlotte County meant seeing friends, learning new things and the occasional fire drill that stopped classes and teachers ushered students outside. 

Today, things look different for students returning to school. Fire drills are still held, but schools across the Commonwealth are holding required lockdown drills.

Charlotte County Public Schools (CCPS) like all Virginia schools are required to complete at least one lockdown drill in the first 20 days of school and at least one additional drill after the first 60 days.

“These drills are conducted at the school level and occur on different dates for each school.,” CCPS Superintendent Robbie Mason said. “Each of our schools has conducted at least one lockdown drill at this point.”

Mason said the goal of lockdown drills are to prepare students and staff to lock down areas quickly and thoroughly should the need arise.

“Lockdown drills are a way to ensure that staff and students can successfully apply the lockdown procedures that we have in place for our schools,” Mason said. “These drills allow us to identify any deficiencies that may exist in our procedures or the execution of those procedures in specific locations in the school.”

Requirements for Charlotte County

The Code of Virginia Lockdown Drills § 22.1-137.2. states in every public school, there shall be a lockdown drill at least once during the first 20 school days of each school session. This is so students and teachers may be thoroughly practiced in such drills. Every public school shall hold at least two additional lock-down drills after the first 60 days of the school session.

Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students shall be exempt from mandatory participation in lock-down drills during the first 60 days of the school session.

Lockdown drills are exercises students and educators practice in the event that an intruder gains access to the school building or a threat is administered. These drills aim to remove students and school staff from the threat and keep the threat isolated from as many areas of the school as possible. Each school and state perform lockdown drills differently. Some schools administer either announced or unannounced active shooter drills, while others stick with classroom door lockdown drills without any simulation.

Another way schools are working to keep students safe is by employing school resource officers (SRO). 

The SRO provides a highly visible presence to deter or identify trespassers on school grounds. In addition, SROs provide a service to the surrounding community by addressing concerns such as loitering, running stop signs, or speeding in school zones.