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‘We’ll probably catch the culprit’

A bomb threat early Friday morning resulted in the evacuation of Halifax County High School, according to School Superintendent Paul Stapleton who said no bomb was found, and no one was injured.

The bomb threat was called in shortly after 7 a.m., with law enforcement notified and responding, including South Boston Police, Halifax County Sheriff’s Department deputies and Virginia State Police.

Halifax County High School Principal Albert Randolph said South Boston Police notified Associate Principal Debbie Griles at 7:35 a.m. that a bomb threat had been called into the 911 system.

“We followed the procedure that is in place for bomb threats,” Randolph said, explaining everyone was evacuated from the building, and it was immediately secured.

The evacuation lasted from 7:45 p.m. to about 8:50 p.m. when students returned to classes, the principal said.

While the school was being searched, students were told to remain on their buses or in their cars as they arrived at school.

The secondary buses had already unloaded middle school students, so only high school students had to wait on the buses for the all clear sign, Randolph said.

Students dropped off at school by their parents also were directed to the buses to await the sweep by law enforcement.

“We had a bomb threat called in, but our law enforcement did such a good job of getting in there,” said School Superintendent Stapleton, adding that around 8:45 a.m. students were allowed back in the building.

The bomb threat was phoned in to South Boston Police Chief Jim Binner’s office, according to Stapleton, who was at the scene during the  bomb search.

“We followed procedure, and everything went procedurally as it should,” the superintendent added.  “We kept the kids on the buses and everybody back away from the building.

“When parents dropped them off, we asked them to go over to the buses.

“I’m kind of proud of our high school administrative staff and faculty, they followed the guidelines just like they were supposed to.”

Stapleton added he was pleased with the fast action of law enforcement in responding to the bomb threat.

“I’m really pleased with the fast action of our law enforcement.  Chief Binner was the one in charge on the scene, but Sheriff (Stanley) Noblin was there along with a large number of enforcement there to sweep the building.

“They never found anything, and we let the teachers go on to their rooms, and about 8:45 we let them unload the buses and bring them (students) back in.

By 9 a.m. all students and teachers had returned to their classes as authorities continued to investigate leads, Randolph said.

“We kept everybody the right perimeter from the building, so we were pleased with the way it went,” Stapleton added.

Although never pleased with a bomb threat, the school superintendent reiterated he was pleased with the response.

“I was quick to tell Stanley (Noblin) and Jim (Binner) that, the response was quick, it was efficient, and they knew exactly what to do.

“They had the building zoned, they had their teams out there, and it really went well.”

Principal Randolph said police were examining the recorded call that was made and are continuing the investigation.

“We’ll probably catch the culprit, we’re already off on that,” said Stapleton. “Regardless of who it is, we’ll prosecute to the fullest, but if it is a student, they will be subject to criminal prosecution and subject to expulsion.”

Randolph also praised the students, teachers and police departments for their cooperation during the disruption in the school day.

“To move 2,000 people around like we did, you have to have tremendous cooperation,” the school principal said. “The cooperation we received was very good.”

South Boston Investigator Randy Redd said investigators from the police department are working closely with the faculty of the high school to develop possible leads, and the South Boston Police Department continues to investigate the incident.

 

Anyone having information regarding this case is asked to call the South Boston Police Department at 434-575-7273 or CrimeStoppers at 434-476-8445.