EXCLUSIVE: RPS security chief talks about safety changes - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

EXCLUSIVE: RPS security chief talks about safety changes

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Richmond Public Schools officials are making changes to security measures at city schools, two months after a gun was brought to John Marshall High School.

Back in February, an 18-year-old alternative high school student brought a gun to the school and flashed it during a fight. Since then, there have been hours of discussions about security.

It was coincidence but appropriate the Office of the Chief of Safety and Security for all of Richmond Public Schools happens to be at John Marshall High School. Police, with their blue lights flashing and sirens blaring, rushed there to secure the scene and the students who were caught in the middle.

"There's no one who wants to have an item of that nature or any other in their buildings," said Sharon Scott, who has been in charge of safety for RPS for seven years.

We asked her the question on many Richmonders' minds—if she can assure parents this will not happen again.

"What I will say to parents is this: we are doing everything that we can to ensure the safety of your child," Scott responded.

But NBC12 wanted to know what that means. On that day back in February, there was bad weather so students bypassed metal detectors to avoid standing out in the rain. Almost immediately, RPS changed protocol and in similar situations, students now will have to wait outside.

"They will be required to go through the metal detector," Scott maintained.

Now, there are also provisions for severe conditions.

"We will bring them in and secure them in a location and have to use the handheld," Scott described.

In the last two months, Scott says she's also been assessing the district's greatest needs. When the budget allows for it, she believes there are some things that will make RPS students safer.

"I'd like to see additional staffing," she added. "I'd also like upgrading in our CCTV system, also upgrading our metal detectors."

According to Scott, the burden doesn't only fall on the school system. Parents need to get involved.  If they, or any students, hear about something that is going to happen, they should call the school security team or resource officer.

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