Local schools get security grants

Published 1:17 pm Monday, September 21, 2015

The state has awarded $147,532 in security equipment grants to school divisions in Buckingham, Prince Edward, Cumberland and Lunenburg.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, roughly $6 million has been awarded to schools across the state to be designated for the use of school security equipment.
According to the release, “the grants will apply to 519 schools and other educational facilities in 100 school divisions. The $6 million will go toward paying for video-monitoring systems, metal detectors, classroom locks, electronic-access controls, visitor-identification systems and other security upgrades.”
The funding program was established in 2013 by the Virginia General Assembly in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting that occurred in Newtown, Conn.
A breakdown of the school security equipment grants shows that Prince Edward was awarded $39,020 for security upgrades related to the high school, vocational technical center, elementary school and middle school.
Division Superintendent Dr. David Smith explained that the money will go towards updating the existing security cameras on campus and handheld radios for administrators. In addition, the recording devices that store the images and the card reader system will be upgraded. The amount of cameras will also increase.
Buckingham County was awarded a total of $82,092 for the county’s middle school. According to Buckingham’s Division Superintendent Dr. Cecil Snead, “the middle school will utilize a more comprehensive surveillance approach that will connect its system centrally to the local sheriff’s department and superintendent’s office. In our most recent upgrades, we were able to connect our preschool, elementary school, high school, [career and technical education] center and transportation/maintenance complex to the centralized system.”
Now, Snead said, “we have the opportunity to upgrade the middle school and connect it to the centralized system; thus, completing our long-term plan of security whereby surveillance is concerned.”
In neighboring Cumberland, the school division will receive a total of $18,976 for security upgrades to the middle school. Dr. Chip Jones, who serves as the assistant superintendent of finance and operations, explained, “the funds will be used to install an electronic access control system at one of our older academic facilities. The grant funds will support our ongoing efforts to maintain a safe environment for students and staff.”
Lunenburg schools received $7,444 for the high school, Kenbridge Elementary, Lunenburg Middle and Victoria Elementary.
“This will be the third year Lunenburg County Schools have received a security grant from the state,” said Lunenburg County Public School Superintendent Charles Berkley Jr. “This year’s grant will be used for a metal detector and wands,” he said. Berkley explained that the security grant would also for a power supply for the computer systems to prevent down time during emergency situations.

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