VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) — The Virginia Beach School Board passed a resolution to use more than $1 million in reversion funds to support recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Panel on School Safety and Security.
"It feels like you are in a good place. It feels like you are in a school system that cares about the safety of the kids, not just the education and making sure every school is accredited,” parent Debra Gray said.
The funds will go to boost security around the district, including adding more cameras in schools, expanding access control for staff in buildings, moving security desks closer to school entrances to check in guests as well as increasing external fencing to some school campuses.
Earlier in the year, the district teamed up with members of the Virginia Beach Police Department and Naval Air Station Oceana to see how the school could operate safer. Schools made some of the changes in July, while others needed more funding. Now those schools will get the money they need.
The resolution, passed Tuesday night, is the latest addition to security enhancements at the school. A new buzz-in system for all 86 of the division's schools and centers was installed earlier this year.
"We want parents to know our schools are safe,” explained Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence.
Last week, VBCPS was awarded more than $90,000 by Governor Ralph Northam in School Security Equipment grants.
The district plans to augment existing equipment at Bayside 6th Grade Campus, Bayside Middle, Birdneck Elementary, Christopher Farms Elementary, First Colonial High, Independence Middle, Larkspur Middle, Lynnhaven Middle, Plaza Middle, Salem Middle, and Virginia Beach Middle. Some of the equipment includes closed-circuit cameras, two-way radios, electronic door locks and scanners for the visitor management system.
Dr. Spence said his goal is to have the additional security measures in place by the end of this school year.