Local education leaders tackle school safety - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Local education leaders tackle school safety


Governor Bob McDonnell announced a state plan to review school safety at all levels, and to identify what's needed to maintain security in the classroom.

That's just one of several initiatives being taken among the many questions the task force will be: do schools need more resources when it comes to student safety? 

Details of that task force should go out later this week, but right now local educators are tackling the issue.

As parents sent their children off to school, some had a discussion they thought they would never have.  The subject: the horrific elementary school shooting in Connecticut where a man killed 27 people including 20 children.

Mark McCoy says he knew his children would hear about it at school

"If that situation ever were in the one in a million chance to happen, you don't want to panic, you want to hide, you want to listen to your teacher," he told his son and daughter.

He told them they are safe at school and it's a statement education leaders agree with. 

"They are among the safest places in America for a child to be during the day," says Christine Bailor, coordinator Henrico Public Schools safety and security.

NBC12 reached out to school leaders in Richmond, Chesterfield and Henrico to find out what safety procedures they use daily.  Christine Bailor is in charge of safety and security for Henrico Public Schools

"We have been drilling and training and preparing for events such as what happened in Connecticut for years," says Bailor.

Safety on a daily basis is something Bailor and other school leaders in the various counties say they work on constantly.  Most schools have a buzzer system with a camera showing who is at the door.

In all schools, visitors must check in

In Richmond, leaders say there will be more police patrols around campus until Christmas.

In Chesterfield, there are cameras in secondary schools to see who is going in and out of the building.

And in Henrico, there are safety audits every year.

But the tragedy in Connecticut has local educators taking an even closer look.

"We've identified some gaps across some of our schools and we're working to fill those gaps immediately," says Andy Jenks, communications director for HCPS.

Details on what those gaps aren't available right now, but Henrico school leaders say they have support by the police chief and school board to take whatever means necessary to ensure safety for all students and staff.

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