County, BV Schools Receive Security Grants

The Rockbridge County and Buena Vista school divisions were notified last week that they are to receive two large grants from the state for new security equipment.

The two school divisions were among 70 school division recipients of $6 million in security equipment grants announced by Gov. Ralph Northam.

Buena Vista was awarded $100,633 for use at Enderly and Kling elementary schools and Parry McCluer Middle School. Rockbridge County will receive $92,000 for Natural Bridge Elementary and Maury River Middle schools.

The grants, according to the governor’s press release, are to be used to help enhance security efforts, including “video monitoring systems, voice and video internal communications systems, mass notification systems, visitor-identification systems, access control systems, two-way radios, security vestibules, and other security upgrades.”

“Virginia’s public schools must be safe learning environments where our children can grow, thrive, and prepare for a lifetime of achievement,” Northam said.

According to the governor’s office, the criteria for making the awards give priority to schools “most in need of modern security equipment,” including 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. This year additional weight was given to applications from elementary schools.

“We are thankful for the amount allocated by the state for our school division,” Buena Vista Superintendent John Keeler told The News-Gazette. “We anticipate that we were approved for more security cameras at Kling, Enderly and Parry McCluer Middle. We also put in for lobby guards for both Kling and Enderly.”

Keeler said the division is expecting a final report of its anticipated updates at a later time.

Rockbridge County Superintendent Phillip Thompson said, “We were very excited to learn that we had been awarded.

“Our division threat assessment team will review the security needs of both of these schools to determine specific measures that will be taken with these funds.”

Thompson said he anticipates a large portion of the funding being utilized for security camera equipment, upgraded internal communication systems and possibly additional two-way radios.

“Because Rockbridge County Public Schools is committed to the safety and security of our students and staff members, any additions we can make to our security measures at our schools is a step in the right direction,” he said. “As always, we will continue to work with our administrators and local law enforcement to assess and address the security needs of all of our schools.”

The News-Gazette

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