On Tuesday, Chesterfield County School District Superintendent Dr. Chan Anderson wanted students, parents and staff to know that Cheraw High School is safe.
“Cheraw High School is safe for students and staff,” he said. “We have work to do.”
Anderson held the event, attended by about 50 people in the school’s cafeteria, to address and listen to concerns about safety and security following an incident on Wednesday, Dec. 6 where two men gained access to the school and then confusion on Friday, Dec. 8 which led to panic and a lockdown on campus.
“There were some steps and some protocols that were not followed last Wednesday,” Anderson said. “Those need to be corrected and fixed. At this point, law enforcement is investigating last Wednesday.”
He added some details are not being shared with the people because they could impede the investigation.
“There are also some details that would prevent or hamper them doing their job.”
During an executive session prior to the Dec. 11 meeting, the Chesterfield County Board of Education members met with Sheriff Cambo Streater about what happened.
Streater confirmed this on Tuesday.
“We don’t talk about investigations while they ongoing,” Streater said. “When we get done, we will do a comprehensive report.”
Several people shared their thoughts about how things were handled and proposed possible solutions.
One parent asked why no one got the names of the men when the two men were discovered walking to the office.
Anderson said he didn’t want to go into specific details.
“There are some things that should have happened,” he said. “There are certain protocols that should have been followed.”
Questions were asked about lockdown drills. A parent expressed concerns about the lockdown being released and students being sent to the next block.
“When this lockdown was released, the most important thing should have been the mental and physical well-being of these children in the school,” she said.
After hearing parents voice their concerns about what happened both days, Anderson talked about creating a parent, school, and law enforcement safety team to address issues.
“I know that we have many of you out here right now and people in the community with backgrounds that can help us,” he said.
A list was passed around so people could put their contact information. Anderson said they would start at Cheraw High and keep it going at other schools in the district.
“We have 16 schools, but all of our schools are made up differently,” he said. “A plan here may not match a plan at Cheraw Intermediate School. I want us to build a team.”
Anderson will have a second meeting at the school at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14.