LCPS Respond to Tech Shootings

LCPS Respond to Tech Shootings

Students Stay in Touch with Friends, Rethink College Plans

All Loudoun County Public Schools students were greeted by faculty and staff members Tuesday, just one day after the Virginia Tech massacre in Blacksburg, Va.

Wayde Byard, spokesperson for Loudoun County Public Schools, said students will be greeted by familiar faces when they walk through their schools’ doors Tuesday morning.

School principals planned to review campus security procedures, including lockdown codes with students and faculty through out the day.

"Of course this was a random act," Byard said. "You prepare for textbook incidents, but a textbook incident may not be what happens."

In light of the anniversary of the Columbine shootings on April 20, Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick assured parents campus safety is a top priority for the school system.

"Everything we can do to increase both the perception and the reality that we are concerned about campus safety and doing everything we can to protect our students will go a long way toward reassuring parents, students and staff," Hatrick said in a letter to parents.

The school system is not under a heightened state of alert, Byard said, but school principals are making sure students know what to do in the event of an emergency.

"As the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings are identified it is likely that our students or their families may be touched directly by the loss of a friend or graduate of one of our schools," Hatrick said. "The staff in pupil services are ready to work with schools in meeting whatever counseling needs they may have."

PATRICK COLE, a second-year student at the Northern Virginia Community College Loudoun campus, smoked a cigarette outside of his 11 a.m. class Tuesday.

Cole reflected on the shootings at the Virginia school.

"I know a lot of people who go there," he said. "Everybody on this campus was talking to all of their friends over there. Everybody was talking to everybody."

Cole said he spent Tuesday afternoon on his cell phone with friends in Blacksburg.

"I think this whole experience is going to cause some changes on campuses across the country," he said. "People are paying a lot of money over there, they’re putting their trust in other people’s hands. It makes you wonder what might have happened if they shut the campus down after the first shots were fired."

Herndon High School graduate and NOVA Loudoun student Akua Adutwumwaah was at work when she heard about the shootings Monday afternoon.

"I called my friends immediately," the freshman said.

Adutwumwaah’s friends were forced to stay inside their dormitory when the first round of shots was fired.

"At first, they heard a few shots. Then they heard another round," she said. "It happened right next door to them. Everybody was so scared."

Adutwumwaah planned to transfer to Virginia Tech in the fall.

"It’s off my list," she said.

NOVA Loudoun sophomore Patrick Thomas plans to attend Virginia Tech next year.

"This doesn’t affect my decision," he said. "It could’ve happened anywhere. We can learn from this."