Valley schools will see major security upgrades thanks to incoming funding from the commonwealth. Wednesday, Governor Bob McDonnell's office announced that it would give thousands of dollars in grants to dozens of divisions across Virginia to advance these efforts.
After several tragic events across the nation, a movement is emerging to increase safety in schools for staff members and students. Now with about $175,000 flowing in from the state, many feel we are closer to preventing one of these incidents from ever happening in our own community.
Kate Collins Middle School will soon have dozens of high-tech cameras with sensitivity to light, sound and motion.
"So they'll be able to see down the length of each hallway, and there's the ability to be able to zoom in and zoom out so they can really pinpoint what you want to see," said Allen Jervey, assistant principal of Waynesboro High School.
Jervey says that the renovations over the past several years have added more hallways, twists and turns to the building - but now, there won't be a risk of missing danger.
Superintendent of Waynesboro Schools Jeffrey Cassell says $100,000 going into installing video surveillance at Waynesboro High and Kate Collins Middle schools will also keep an eye out for bullies.
"I do think that camera systems are a deterrent to bad behavior when students know their behaviors are being watched, and they're more conscious of their behaviors," said Cassell.
While school officials say it's helpful to know who's coming into the buildings, now they can keep track of who exits and when.
In Staunton, superintendent Linda Revia says their $73,000 in grant money will go toward securing entry into the elementary schools. The district already has cameras, but now outsiders will only get in through approval from the officials at a service window.
"So the idea is to balance safety and security with ease of entrance into the buildings, because we really want to make sure that our staff and our students are safe," said Revia.
After finalizing specifics and going through the bidding process, we should see the structural changes in Staunton by the end of 2013 or early 2014. Waynesboro's additions should be completed this academic year.
Charlottesville schools also received some of the state grant money. Charlottesville says the $68,000 it's receiving will go to security upgrades at Buford, Johnson and Walker.
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