Roanoke County leaders talk school safety after possible threat

Officials say technology, safety procedures help keep schools secure

By Brittny McGraw - Anchor

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. - A rumor of a weapon inside a Roanoke County school brought a swarm of police officers and state police to the school on Friday.

The Roanoke County Police Department and state police checked Northside High School and found no weapons.

Additionally, the police department determined that the rumor was unsubstantiated and not credible. 

That possible threat, as well as the case of a student who took a loaded gun to Cave Spring Middle School on Thursday, has county officials talking about school safety and how to best protect students.

“Safety is paramount for everybody to consider,” said Dr. Greg Killough, superintendent of Roanoke County Public Schools.

Friday, Killough, Roanoke County's police chief, and its fire marshal shared what they've all been doing to keep schools secure and students and staff safe. They said the district's schools have technology and safety procedures in place, and there are 10 school resource officers at the county's middle and high schools.

"We have the SROs at middle and high school, but they do rotate down into the elementaries," Killough said.

During Thursday's school board meeting, Roanoke County Sheriff Eric Orange shared his vision of a partnership between the Sheriff's Office and county police to get more, full-time coverage in the county's elementary schools.

"Ultimately my goal would be to see a school resource officer in every single school," Orange said.

It's a conversation community leaders said they're willing to have, but it would take the proper funding and resources to possibly make that happen.

"They really have to assess and determine what the best course of action for this jurisdiction is, based on the resources we have," said Roanoke County Police Chief Howard Hall. 

School officials said the district regularly assesses the safety needs of its students and staff. 

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