Area teachers on alert following school threats

Posted at 9:54 PM, Feb 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-20 23:25:26-05

SUFFOLK, Va. - Just like their students, teachers at several local schools had to report to work facing beefed up security on Tuesday.

The increased police presence came in response to threats made on social media impacting school divisions across Hampton Roads.

Among those threatened were two schools in Suffolk where Sid Neighbours is President over the local teachers' union.

"It's always in the back of your mind, you're always looking over your shoulder," said Neighbours, a middle school English and Geography teacher.

In a letter sent to the Suffolk Public Schools community, Superintendent Deran Whitney reaffirmed the school division's commitment to safety, acknowledging regular lockdown and safety drills.

A local preschool teacher who works at a private school spoke with News 3 about what it's like to conduct drills with young kids.

"The hardest part about that...with preschoolers and even any of the children, even teenagers, is having to explain to the children why we are doing this," said the teacher, who didn't want to be identified. "Your job is to teach these children but your job is also to protect these children and let`s face it, they should feel safe at school."

One of the options some say would help make schools safer is allowing teachers to keep guns at school.

Former Virginia Beach police officer Leta Krieger, who now owns her own self-defense business, tells News 3 that could complicate things for officers responding to a shooter situation.

"I think it`s going to be tough. When you are responding and you don`t have all the information, you don`t know who the good guys are the bad guys are," she said. "There is a lot of potential for things to go wrong at that point."

What's for sure is a teacher's job is not just about teaching.

"Not only are we educating the mind, but we are working with the whole student. Being sure that when they have issues that we identify them," said Neighbours.

As of Tuesday night, more than half-a-dozen students have been arrested in connection to threats made against local schools.

Click here for full coverage on local schools receiving social media threats.