Saturday, December 9, 2023

Here’s how Newport News Public Schools prepare for active threat situations

All Newport News Public Schools undergo active threat drills two times a year (WYDaily/ File photo)
All Newport News Public Schools undergo active threat drills two times a year (WYDaily/ File photo)

NEWPORT NEWS — Here’s a question: What are school districts like Newport News Public Schools doing to prepare students for the possibility of an active threat or active shooter situation?

Michelle Price, spokeswoman for the Newport News Public Schools, said the schools have two active threat drills each year, one in each semester, and faculty and staff are given presentations on active threat and active shooter situations each year.

The school district has had active threat situation drills for at least 20 years and each school is equipped with video surveillance, Price said.

An active threat drill is a lockdown where students and staff shelter in place, clear the hallways and common areas and don’t let visitors in or out, Price noted. The active shooter drills involve the school security officers and the police department.

“Most of the time they [the children] are not aware,” she said. “In order for it to really be authentic.”

“It’s intended to be a surprise,” she said, adding the first drill is essentially a walk through and the second is a surprise.

One of the agencies who would assist the school district is the Newport News Police Department.

“The police department assists the schools with the lockdown procedures when they have an active lockdown situation,” said police spokesman Brandon Maynard.

Maynard said the department assists the school security and makes sure nobody goes into the building.

While Price could not elaborate on the active shooter and threat response drill since it’s a school emergency plan, she did emphasize the school is prepared.

“There are a lot of measures in place to ensure students and staff are safe at school,” she said. “These drills are proactive on an annual or semi-annual basis…[we] need students and staff to know what to do if any of these situations take place.”

Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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