Roanoke City School Board approves safety measures ahead of school year

Among the measures are additional school resource officers and a 24/7 safety hotline for students to use

The board voted on safety measures for students and the buildings to put in place in the coming academic years.

ROANOKE, Va. – Safety continues to be a top priority for Roanoke City Public Schools as the school board approves a new set of safety measures for the upcoming school year.

Here is a full list of the new safety measures:

  • School Resource Officers in each school
  • Increase the number of cameras in buildings
  • Change out antiquated lock sets
  • A new security technician position
  • Safety tip line system
  • Adding additional assistant principals
  • Address under-sized secure entry areas: Fairview and Hurt Park
  • Panic alarms/buttons/fobs

Eli Jamison, Chairwoman for Roanoke City School Board, says safety is necessary for everyday learning.

“Really safety broadly for a student is critical to learning. We know that psychological safety, food safety, and physical safety are imperative for a child to feel comfortable and focus on their environment,” Jamison said.

Jamison’s point was echoed by Superintendent Verletta White.

“Teaching and learning cannot adequately occur unless students and staff members not only feel safe but are safe,” White said.

The board unanimously approved the new safety measures at its Tuesday meeting. The only item not approved on the recommended bundle was the use of student ID badges.

The addition of school resource officers follows other school districts in having one officer inside each school.

“Children need adults who care about them and that’s what we’re giving them,” Jamison said.

The safety measures will cost the district a projected $1,720,117. While some measures are going to take more funding than others, the school board and the superintendent believe each one is just as important as the rest.

“There isn’t one that’s more prevalent than the other. There isn’t one that sticks out more than the other. It’s a comprehensive, holistic and layered approach,” White said.

The school year is just around the corner and members of the school board wanted to have a good framework to build upon.

“This is the beginning of a conversation not the end of one. We voted on what we knew we could do going for this school year starting in just a month in a half,” Jamison said.

The public will be able to give their thoughts and comments on the new safety measures at a town hall meeting scheduled for August 16.

About the Author:

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.