School district gets help with security funding

Published 8:30 am Friday, December 8, 2023

Lunenburg County Public Schools is completely rebuilding security systems at each of its buildings. That includes everything from school perimeter security, security panic systems, classroom security, cameras mounted on interior and exterior walls, as well as a security scanning system. They’re getting help paying for all this thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Education. 

“These security features may be installed in one or more of the schools in the division,” said Lunenburg superintendent Dr. Sharon Stanislas. “(That’s) based on needs.” 

The focus on security comes in the wake of multiple threats that targeted the district this fall. From August through October, schools went through a number of lockdowns after threats were issued. The new funding will help replace old equipment and add some new items, making it easier to see any potential threats as they approach campus. 

REGION LOOKS TO UPGRADE 

In the region, both Prince Edward and Charlotte counties also received funding, the same goes for Buckingham. In fact, Cumberland was the only division that didn’t receive money out of the area. Charlotte got $60,396 to tackle a door security project, while Prince Edward received just over $1,000 to finish securing their entrances. 

“We will be using these funds for additional remote entry systems at two of our schools, portable public address systems at the elementary schools, new metal detectors at the high school to be used for special events and upgrades to outdoor lighting at a few spaces outside our schools,” explained Charlotte County Superintendent Dr. Robbie Mason. 

MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE PROJECT 

All total, the $12 million went to 483 schools in 98 school divisions. Districts were asked to pitch, to present some type of security project they needed to accomplish and what kind of funding was required to make that happen. It could be anything from building a security card access system to buying surveillance cameras, setting up a communication system or strengthening door security, among other things. 

Once those pitches came in, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) went through and ranked them all, choosing how much funding to allocate based on that order. 

“The criteria developed by VDOE and the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services gives 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,” VDOE said in a statement.