FRONT ROYAL – At its March 7 monthly meeting the Warren County School Board, administrative staff and several parents discussed the hot-button topic of school safety three weeks after the Parkland, Florida semi-automatic rifle shooting that left 17 students and teachers of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School dead and 17 more wounded. The Valentine’s Day school massacre in Florida and the aggressive activism launched by student survivors of Stoneman Douglas High School has intensified the gun law debate nationally.
One week later on Wednesday, March 14, exactly a month after the Parkland, Florida school shooting, 242 students left four county public schools in support of a national student remembrance of the Parkland victims and a call for stricter gun control laws. The demonstrations were slated to begin across the nation at 10 a.m. in each time zone and last for 17 minutes, one minute for each Douglas High victim.
School Superintendent Greg Drescher said the head count of participating students was 120 at Skyline Middle School, 80 at Skyline High School, 30 at Warren County High School, and 12 at Warren County Middle School. He said the school system neither discouraged nor encouraged the event, adding that students who did participate will face no disciplinary consequence for their action. The two high schools have approximate student populations of 800 each; the middle schools about 600 students each.
“Some people were offended by it, but for me it was more of a respect thing with 17 minutes of silence for the 17 victims in Florida,” Skyline High sophomore Sophia Conrow said of her participation.
“We want to give students an opportunity to express their opinions and for some it was really, really important to participate,” Drescher observed, adding, “But we want it understood that education is our primary function, so it’s not something we would expect to occur every week. But we’ll continue a dialogue so our kids understand our perspective that disrupting class may not be the best way – and I think the kids understand that.”
A week earlier at the school board meeting, several parents addressed the issue of what Warren County Public Schools are doing to address the ongoing public danger of mass shootings that have all too frequently targeted schools. The discussion spanned the meeting from public participation at its outset to an informal discussion after the meeting’s official adjournment.
The latter conversation came when several people unfamiliar with the meeting format rose to ask if they might speak to the matter following the adjournment. Drescher invited the parents forward to continue discussion of the topic.
Letasha Thompson was first to address the issue during the public participation segment near the meeting’s outset. Among her comments Thompson suggested metal detectors be placed on school doors throughout the system as one immediately-available safety implementation. During the later, post-meeting informal discussion Chris and Melissa Cubbage and Mike Mayer added their thoughts.
Mayer, who said he had a daughter at Ressie Jeffries Elementary, made an interesting suggestion on a middle ground this reporter had yet to hear on the idea of arming teachers. That idea was arming some school staff with what he called “bear” or “wasp spray” – essentially a mace designed to shoot a tight stream as far as 30 feet, and which he observed would blind and drop a human to his knees at that distance.
An ongoing concern appeared to be that locking classroom doors and telling students “to get down and hide” may not be enough. And Drescher’s earlier remarks on school safety during his Superintendent’s Report indicated school administrators may be on the same page.
Drescher opened his report on school safety by observing, “The recent school shooting in Florida sparked a series of threats across our nation” before launching into a summary of threats dealt with by Warren County Public Schools on February 21-22, a week after the Parkland school shooting. During his report Drescher noted that school officials and law enforcement have already met several times in recent weeks to review the system’s emergency procedures and see what kind of improvements can be made. He also pointed to an increased law enforcement presence “at all our schools” including an added sheriff’s deputy’s presence during school lunch hours.
Drescher added that he believed procedures in place “were good” and would be implemented if necessary by “good people” but did add that he would be making “further recommendations” in the near future.
Of the threats to Warren County Public Schools previously reported on by Royal Examiner, Drescher noted that it had eventually been determined the February 21st social media post against “SHS” that led to searches of everyone entering Skyline High School the following day had originated in Ohio and was not targeting Warren County’s SHS. – “I imagine that SHS’s across the country dealt with this,” Drescher said.
The system also dealt with a threat made against Warren County High School and two directed at Warren County Middle School, the latter situation leading to the evacuation of the middle school the morning of February 22.
“Our crisis plans were initiated and the evacuation, subsequent searches all went well. I want to thank our students for handling it so well; our parents for coming through a scary situation; our schools’ staff that did a fantastic job at all levels; and all the law enforcement that supported us,” Drescher said.
“In the cases of all these threats we know who did them. In no case was the threat a real threat. I would define them all as individuals saying very foolish things. All have been turned over to law enforcement and all have gone through our disciplinary procedures; and we have followed our threat assessment and mental health assessments as appropriate,” the school superintendent reported.
And so it goes locally and nationally in the eighteenth year of the 21st Century.
VDOT: Warren County Traffic alert for August 8 – 12, 2022
The following is a list of highway work that may affect traffic in Warren County during the coming weeks. Scheduled work is subject to change due to inclement weather and material supplies. Motorists are advised to watch for slow-moving tractors during mowing operations. When traveling through a work zone, be alert to periodic changes in traffic patterns and lane closures.
*NEW* or *UPDATE* indicates a new or revised entry since last week’s report.
Mile marker 0 to 15, eastbound and westbound – Right shoulder closures for utility work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday (August 13).
Mile marker 8 to 7, westbound – Right lane closures for utility work, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday (August 13).
Mile marker 299 to 300, northbound and southbound – Right shoulder closures for utility work, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday (August 13).
Route 55 (Strasburg Road) – Shoulder closures for utility work in the area of Route 664 (Whipporwill Road), 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. through August 19.
No lane closures were reported.
Vegetation management may take place district-wide on various routes. Motorists are reminded to use extreme caution when traveling through work zones.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at www.511Virginia.org.
The VDOT Customer Service Center can assist with reporting road hazards, asking transportation questions, or getting information related to Virginia’s roads. Call 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623) or use its mobile-friendly website at my.vdot.virginia.gov. Agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over: The results of drunk driving could be crushing
During the Labor Day holiday, including the end of summertime and the busy Labor Day weekend, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working alongside the law enforcement community in Warren County to decrease impaired driving. From August 19 through September 5, Warren County Sheriff’s Office will be participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement period. In support of the law enforcement community’s dedication to protecting the lives of residents in their communities, you’ll see officers working together during this time to take drunk drivers off the roads. No matter how you plan to celebrate the end of the season this year, make sure you plan it safely.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 11,654 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2020 that involved an alcohol-impaired driver. On average, more than 10,000 people were killed each year from 2016 to 2020, and one person was killed in a drunk driving crash every 45 minutes in 2020. This is why Warren County Sheriff’s Office is working together with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, but also a matter of life and death. As you head out to festivities during the end of summer and Labor Day weekend, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting a DUI Checkpoint August 19, 2022.
During the 2020 Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. September 4 – 5:59 a.m. September 8), there were 530 crash fatalities nationwide. Forty-six percent of those fatalities involved drivers who had been drinking (.01+ BAC). More than one-third (38%) of the fatalities involved drivers who were drunk (.08+ BAC), and one-fourth (25%) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the legal limit (.15+ BAC). Age is a particularly risky factor: Among drivers between the ages of 21 and 34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2020, 44% of those drivers were drunk, with BACs of .08 or higher.
For more information on impaired driving, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving.
VSP seeking public’s assistance with a crash involving a pedestrian in Fauquier County
Virginia State Police is seeking the public’s assistance with identifying one of the two vehicles that struck a pedestrian Saturday, August 6, in Fauquier County.
Senior Trooper D. Mabie is investigating the crash that occurred at 11:20 p.m. at the intersection of Route 29 (James Madison Hwy) and Route 28 (Catlett Rd).
A pedestrian was walking east across Route 29 when he was struck by a northbound 2017 Alfa Romeo sedan. The driver was unable to avoid the collision and immediately pulled over. A second vehicle then struck the pedestrian and continued on without stopping. This is possibly a white SUV or truck of unknown make and model.
The pedestrian, a 21-year-old male, of Bealeton, Va., suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of the crash and was transported to INOVA Fairfax Hospital for treatment.
The driver of the Alfa Romeo, a 24-year-old male, of Locust Grove, Va., was not injured in the crash. He was wearing a seatbelt.
The pedestrian was wearing dark clothing and not in a crosswalk. The Alfa Romeo had a green light.
The crash remains under investigation.
Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or has any information related to this incident is encouraged to call Virginia State Police Senior Trooper D. Mabie at 540-347-6200 or email email@example.com.
Donations to aid Kentucky still accepted at Aders Insurance Agency
Donations will be collected for the second week in a row at Aders Insurance Agency, located at 23 Church Street in Front Royal, from 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, until August 12.
Please help those who suffered due to the flooding in Kentucky. Towels and blankets must be NEW. No more clothing in needed.
Rugged Terrain Crossfit takes home the trophy at the Waggin’ for Dragons 2022 race
Waggin’ for Dragons 2022 is a wrap.
Thank you to all of the participants and volunteers who spent their day with us down on the Shenandoah River with the 22Dragons crew. This year, this fun boat race benefited the Humane Society of Warren County, Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, and United Way of Front Royal.
Check out the lineup of teams this year! All of these boats raised at least $1,000 as an entry fee. There were several fierce rivalries that added to the energy and fun!
- Humane Society of Warren County – Foster Fleabags
- Rotary – Rotary River Rats
- Warren County Sheriff’s Department
- State Farm – Good Neighbors
- Element Risk – Risky Business
- Rugged Terrain Crossfit
- Valley Health
- Skyline High School
- Coldwell Banker Blue
The winner of the race on the water was Rugged Terrain Crossfit! Congratulations!
This tough crew came out and gave it their all. Fun banter was held between the Sheriff’s team and Crossfit, as there was wife vs. husband action on the two boats! Be sure to stop by the Rugged Terrain gym to see this gorgeous Waggin’ for Dragons trophy in person. Bragging rights and good luck will live at this gym for the next year!
- GOLD: Rugged Terrain Crossfit 1.01.4
- SILVER: Warren County Sheriff’s Department 1.01.88
- BRONZE: Coldwell Banker Blue 1.02.08
(Numbers are appropriately correct)
There were two other categories that were judged: Most Funds Raised, and Most Spirited teams. The Rotary River Rats brought home both of these honors, netting a total of $5,011 in funds raised, a full $2,000 more than next in line. All three of our local Rotary clubs were represented on the boat – Rotary Club of Warren County, Rotary Club of Front Royal, and the Rotary Club of Northern Shenandoah Valley. The team had a representative from the House of Hope, Department of Social Services, and I’m Just Me Movement (a local non-profit that supports our youth through mentoring and positive reinforcement) rowing as well!
Chamber welcomes Kells Belles to Front Royal
The Front Royal/Warren County Chamber of Commerce, along with Town Mayor Chris Holloway, Councilman Gary Gilespie, and friends welcomed Kells Belles to Main Street in downtown Front Royal. Kells Belles is the dream of Kelly Wahl to provide a women’s fashion boutique to the Front Royal community.
Kells Belles is located at 213 E. Main Street in downtown Front Royal. Kelly says she will be open on Wednesday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and on Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Find out more on Facebook or call 540-551-3157.