Martinsville, Henry County schools getting security upgrades

Combined, districts received nearly $100,000 from state for upgrades

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Two school districts in Southside are receiving money from the Commonwealth to help boost security.

Martinsville City Schools will use part of its nearly $70,000 state grant to add a visitor badge system to the city's pre-school and middle and high schools.

The school district's safety director, T.J. Slaughter, said the system is already in place at the district's two elementary schools.

"Any time a visitor comes to Martinsville City Schools, their driver's license will be scanned. That checks all 50 states to make sure that the visitor is not a registered sex offender," Slaughter said.

The district currently has about 200 security cameras, but plans to add a few more, as well as more two-way radios.

Earlier this year, the district added metal posts out front of the high school to prevent cars from ramming into the building.

The rest of the money the district received will be used to add a key card entry system to some additional doors.

"This round of funding, we're just adding in a couple of doors here and there that we've found that would be useful to have that type of technology," Slaughter said.

Henry County received just under $15,000 in grant money.

It will be used to upgrade some existing cameras at the county's middle schools as well as add some new ones.

"Having things like after-school programs, after-school activities for middle school students, we just know that we need some additional security in those areas," Henry County Schools communication director Monica Adams-Hatchett said.

The district hopes to have the cameras within the next six weeks.

"Now that we know the award amount for our division, that will help our technicians decide how many cameras, and of what kind, we're able to get," Adams said.

Martinsville's cameras and visitor badge systems should be up and running in the next couple of months.

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