LCPS works to keep students safe

Published 8:00 am Friday, June 3, 2022

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In the wake of shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow has reached out to superintendents around the commonwealth for their views on what additional school safety measures the state should take.

“Our hearts are broken and the Uvalde community is in our prayers,” Balow said in a press release. “As we grieve for the innocent children and teachers who died in this evil and senseless act, we must also review all of the facts as they come to light and determine what additional steps we can take to protect our students and faculty members — and everyone who visits one of our 2,381 schools and local and regional programs.”

In Lunenburg County Public Schools (LCPS) officials have taken precautions over the years and currently there are security cameras at each locked entrance,

“All of our entrances are locked throughout the school day in every school building.” LCPS Superintendent Charles Berkley Jr. said. “We have cameras at all entrances and doors with the only way to gain access is either by staff on the inside or a key holder.”

LCPS also works to have school resources officers present at its schools.

Several school leaders and law enforcement members have stressed the importance of the School Security Equipment Grants program that the General Assembly created in 2013 in the wake of Sandy Hook.

The criteria for receiving the grants give priority to schools most in need of modern security equipment, schools with relatively high numbers of offenses, schools with equipment needs identified by a school security audit and schools in divisions least able to afford security upgrades.

The 2019 General Assembly doubled the total annual appropriation for the grant program from $6 million to $12 million. The legislature also increased the maximum award per school division from $100,000 to $250,000.

In 2013, Virginia became the first state in the nation to require K-12 schools to establish threat assessment teams.

Schools in the commonwealth are also required to maintain updated crisis management plans and conduct annual school security audits.