RICHMOND, Va. – State officials are looking to implement more school security and safety measures following one of the most horrific elementary school shootings in U.S. history.
On Tuesday, 19 children and at least two teachers were shot and killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Now, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow is asking school division superintendents throughout the Commonwealth for their input on school security measures as the state strives to better protect our students.
“All Virginia educators, students and parents are grieving today. Our hearts are broken and the Uvalde community is in our prayers,” Balow said. “As we grieve for the innocent children and teachers who died in this evil and senseless act, we must also review all of the facts as they come to light and determine what additional steps we can take to protect our students and faculty members — and everyone who visits one of our 2,381 schools and local and regional programs.”
Here’s a look at the school safety measures that are already in place:
- Campbell County Superintendent Robert Johnson says following the Sandy Hook mass shooting in 2012, which left 26 people dead, the division has aimed to have a school resource officer in every county
- Since 2013, Virginia has required K-12 schools to have threat assessment teams
- Virginia schools are required to maintain updated crisis management plans and conduct annual school security audits
- A School Security Equipment Grants program strives to provide the resources needed to purchase security equipment
Ballow is also asking school divisions specifically about what additional state resources are needed to better support mental health needs in students at local schools.
This summer, Balow will provide a report of her findings to Governor Glenn Youngkin.
“I look forward to additional conversations with school leaders and law enforcement in communities so we can capture security concerns and ideas from a cross-section of Virginia’s school divisions, including urban and suburban divisions, and divisions most dependent on state support for keeping students and faculty safe.”