Roanoke City School Board presents new safety measures to City Council

Both the school board and city council are emphasizing the importance of school safety

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke City School students will be heading back to the classroom in just three weeks, and this year, new safety measures will be in place.

On Monday, the Roanoke City School Board held a joint meeting with Roanoke City Council to go over the new safety measures that will go into effect later this month.

“We believe that our comprehensive approach is the best way for us to get there,” said Superintendent Verletta White.

25 safety recommendations were adopted by the school board at their last meeting, including a new safety tip line, new, more secure classroom door locks, and an additional 15 school resource officers on top of the 11 already on staff.

A total of 26 SROs will ensure each school has one officer. The price for one officer at each school is $1.5 million.

“We are moving forward with all these recommendations that provide us with a comprehensive approach to safety. We are talking about the physical safety of our students and staff as well as their social, emotional, and psychological safety,” said Superintendent White.

Two additional mental health providers from Blue Ridge Behavioral Health will be available to elementary students for their emotional and psychological needs.

“In that prevention is making sure our students and staff members have mental health support that they need,” said Superintendent White.

During Monday’s meeting, City Council members asked questions about the school’s safety plan.

Mayor Sherman Lea said he’s impressed by the school’s comprehensive plan.

“Right now security in schools is a big issue across the country and I’m pleased to see that they have taken what I think are very aggressive steps to ensure that our students are safe,” said Mayor Lea.

Another change the school board approved is advocating for greater responsibility to be placed on parents and guardians whose students bring weapons or make threats at school – something that Mayor Lea also agreed with.

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