Rockbridge County Schools exploring new security options

District also looking into funding for more school resource officers

ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. – Schools across Southwest Virginia continue to evaluate safety and security in the wake of the Florida high school shooting, and one district is looking at different security devices to better protect students and staff.

"Everything is on the table for us," said Randy Walters, director of operations and maintenance for Rockbridge County Schools. "We're looking at anything and everything that will make our buildings more secure, whether it's metal detectors, door devices. Anything we can do to make the building safer, we'll take a look at those."

Walters showed 10 News one of the security devices the school district is considering. It is a barricade that attaches to the bottom of a door and prevents an intruder from getting in.

"That's all we're looking for, just a few minutes of time to give the teacher," Walters said. "We want to prevent them from getting into the school. But if they do make their way into the school, we want to make sure our teachers are equipped with the tools that they need."

The district is also trying out locks that fit over the hinge at the top of a door. They've also had conversations with the Rockbridge Sheriff's Office about finding funding for more school resource officers.

"Security is No. 1," said Capt. Tony McFaddin, chief deputy with the Rockbridge County Sheriff's Office. 

The district currently has two school resource officers, one at Maury River Middle School and another at Rockbridge County High School. Deputies, city of Lexington police officers and Virginia State Police visit the district's four elementary schools regularly, but there's no full-time officer.

"We never know what threat may be out there or where a threat may come from," McFaddin said. "If we have somebody there already on-site, they can handle the problem a lot quicker."

Walters said the district is also considering security systems that require visitors to be buzzed in. He said the district is constantly evaluating its safety needs.

"It's what we're here for," Walters said. "We want to make sure our kids and our staff, they're safe, and parents have peace of mind that when they send their kids to school that they're going to be safe during the day."

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