School districts prioritize safety as students get ready for school

Martinsville, Pulaski County, and Henry County school leaders share what changes are being made

Local school leaders are working to ensure that students are safe in the classroom

ROANOKE, Va. – Many school districts are making final safety preparations to welcome your kids back to the classroom.

T.J. Slaughter, the Director of School Safety for the Martinsville School Division, recently informed city leaders about how they are keeping students safe.

One of those safety additions is a gunshot detection system.

“When gunfire is detected, a text message is sent to our 911 center and local law enforcement,” Slaughter said.

Slaughter said Martinsville school leaders are working with local law enforcement to ensure school resource officers are prepared to handle an active shooting event.

Leaders also bought window armor designed to protect students and faculty from gunfire. It’s made of ten-gauge steel and locks in place.

“That would take numerous rounds to get through that,” Slaughter said.

And they aren’t the only ones putting safety first this year. Henry County, Pulaski County, Amherst County, Bedford County, and Franklin County schools are all making changes to ensure their students and teachers are safe while roaming the halls.

All hands are on deck at Henry County – leaders said they have SROs at the middle and high schools, and that the public must go through an extra set of doors before accessing the school.

“If you enter our schools, we have double doorways. Many people call it a fishbowl area that ensures that anyone who enters our building is waiting to enter,” Monica Hatchett with Henry County Schools said.

In Pulaski County, leaders have worked with law enforcement and emergency management to have plans in place in case there’s an active shooter.

“Our administrators do a great job of evaluating and training their teachers on our response,” Dr. Kevin Siers, Pulaski County Schools Superintendent, said.

You can find an entire list of back-to-school dates here.

About the Author:

Duke Carter returned to 10 News in January 2022.