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County law enforcement, school officials review safety

Halifax County Public Schools administrators met with law enforcement officers Tuesday morning to discuss security concerns at South Boston Elementary School.

South Boston Elementary was the first of several stops Tuesday that authorities and school officials made checking the safety and security of county schools.

South Boston Elementary Principal Sue Bagbey met with Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon, South Boston Police Chief J. W. Binner, Capt. B. K. Lovelace, South Boston Fire Department Chief Steve Phillips, South Boston Fire Inspector and Assistant Fire Chief Dwight Spangler, Virginia State Police First Sgt. J. N. Lane, Halifax County Emergency Services Coordinator Kirby Saunders, Halifax County Sheriff’s Office Maj. David Martin, Sheriff Fred Clark, Town of Halifax Police Chief Kevin Lands, Director of School Operations and Maintenance Larry Roller, Director of Secondary Education/Accountability Frosty Owens and South Boston Elementary Assistant Principal Chris Lacks.

After a briefing in the school’s cafeteria where the principal pointed out differences in South Boston Elementary School’s daily schedule, Bagbey led the group on a tour of the school pointing out the pros and cons of security already in place.

“I feel like this is the most secure place,” said Bagbey.

She explained school staff has discussed where they would take students in the event of an emergency, and Herndon said a principal’s meeting will be held Wednesday to discuss how quickly county schools can be locked down.

During the tour, law enforcement officers found all classrooms were locked from the interior as Principal Bagbey and Assistant Principal Lacks had explained earlier in the briefing.

According to Bagbey, school staff’s biggest concern at South Boston Elementary is a set of double doors on the left side of the building close to a classroom that parents use to come in and out of without supervision from time to time.

“It’s my biggest concern because it’s next to a parking lot. We have it monitored as much as we can, and it has a camera,” said Bagbey.

Also a classroom was visited that had doorway excess but was being blocked by objects, and law enforcement officers said sometimes the best they can do is “just slow the bad guys down.”

Following the security check at South Boston Elementary, school personnel and law enforcement officers were going to Cluster Springs Elementary and other schools to continue checking security.