Area school districts receive grant for safety equipment

Area schools have received grant money for new school security equipment grants.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Friday announced $6 million in  security equipment grants to schools in 104 divisions and three regional education programs. The grants will pay for items such as: video monitoring systems, metal detectors, classroom locks, electronic access controls and other security upgrades in schools.

Shenandoah County Public Public Schools received $23,755 for Ashby Lee Elementary, Sandy Hook Elementary and W.W. Robinson Elementary.

Superintendent Mark Johnston said the funds will go to purchase security cameras at the schools.

The district already has cameras in its middle and high schools.

Until now, the district has wanted has been unable to fully fund cameras in its elementary schools, Johnston said. The grant helps subsidize the addition of the security cameras but the full costs are far more then the grant amount, Johnston said.

“The safety and security of our students and staff is of the utmost importance. Students learn best and staff is at their best when they are not having to consider threats to safety and security,” Johnston said.

Warren County Public Schools received $42,640 for A.S. Rhodes Elementary, E. Wilson Morrison Elementary, Hilda J. Barbour Elementary, Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary, Ressie Jeffries Elementary, Skyline High and Warren County High.

The money will help cover some of the cost to replace old cameras in the schools, as well as install buzzer systems on the front doors of Skyline High and Skyline Middle School.

“If we did not get this grant, we would either have to ask for additional funds or make cuts to other parts of the budget to be able to pay for these grant items,” Superintendent Greg Drescher said.

The school security equipment grants program was established in the aftermath of the Dec. 12, 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Law enforcement said 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children between 6- and 7-years old, as well as six adult staff member who were either trying to stop him or were attempting to protect the children. Lanza committed suicide as law enforcement arrived.