Liberty County School System officials are taking precautionary measures today following a drive-by shooting Wednesday afternoon at Waldo Pafford Elementary, according to LCSS Superintendent Dr. Valya Lee.
In a statement she issued to Board of Education members yesterday, Lee said Waldo Pafford faculty and staff were asked to arrive early Thursday morning to ensure the plan of action “is effectively communicated and executed.”
LCSS Chief Academic Officer Mary Alexander and Chief Administrative Officer Jason Rogers also will be on site Thursday, interviewing staff “as appropriate.” Lee said in the statement that while she does not want to interfere with the police investigation, she is “interested in knowing if any teacher or staff member knows of any reason anyone might want to target (Waldo Pafford).”
According to the statement, police will be on campus all day, and increased police presence has been requested for all other district schools.
Additionally, the entire district will operate under a “soft lockdown” Thursday. Lee said that during morning arrival and end-of-day dismissal times, administrators will stage the students so as to minimize the amount of time they are exposed while moving to and from cars and buses.
She said that no students will be allowed outside during the school day, and that the district “will remain on high alert throughout the day.”
The incident occurred just after 3 p.m. Lee said that only students waiting for the YMCA Pryme Tyme program were in the school at the time of the shooting.
UPDATE: LCSS issued a news release Thursday afternoon updating media on the district's response to the incident and the precautionary measures being taken. Below is the release in its entirety.
On February 11, 2015 at the end of the school day a private automobile drove by Waldo Pafford Elementary on the main road and fired multiple shots out of the window in the direction of the school. The school staff immediately placed the school on lock down. The principal and staff are to be commended for their swift actions. Authorities and central level employees also arrived on campus to assist. At the time of the shooting all buses had cleared Waldo Pafford and the majority of parent pick-up students had also cleared the campus. We are happy to report that there were no injuries to students, staff or parents during this episode. A district wide phone notification was sent to all parents and staff Wednesday evening providing information of these events and informing parents that all schools would start Thursday under a modified lock down.
The Liberty County School System was notified early Wednesday evening that an arrest had been made and that law enforcement had overwhelming evidence surrounding this arrest. The District has no reason to believe that this event was anything other than an isolated occurrence. The school system appreciates the fast reaction of law enforcement and their assistance in keeping our schools safe.
As a result of the arrest, the modified lock down has been lifted. However, the schools will remain on heightened alert as a precautionary measure.
The Liberty County School System would like to thank all students, parents, staff and law enforcement for their continued cooperation.
For more information, contact Mary Alexander at 912-876-4789 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.