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Central Va. schools implement enhanced safety measures following Texas shooting

Some schools will have an increased presence of law enforcement officers.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 10:32 PM EDT|Updated: May. 25, 2022 at 12:19 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Several school systems in Central Virginia have implemented safety measures on Wednesday and through the end of the school year after Tuesday’s deadly shooting in Texas.

Richmond

Richmond Public Schools implemented enhanced searches during student arrival on Wednesday.

In an update to parents, Superintendent Jason Kamras said arrival procedures would take longer than usual.

Parents may also notice additional Richmond police officers at schools on Wednesday during arrival and dismissal after Kamras asked them to be there.

“To our students, families, and staff: please know that I take your safety extremely seriously – it is truly my number one priority, as both superintendent and a father,” Kamras said in his update to parents.

Kamras said that the division’s Director of Security was asked to update their school-specific active shooter response plans. The work is now complete.

Kamras is also asking families, teachers, staff and students to be extra vigilant in looking for signs of distress within the community and reach out to resources if needed.

Chesterfield

“We ask that everyone be involved, aware, speak up and join efforts to sustain safe learning environments. If you see something, say something. If you know something, make sure someone at a school knows it too. We are all partners in efforts to protect our children,” Chesterfield County Public Schools said in a message to families and staff.

The school system says staff members are trained to evaluate and respond to potential issues.

“Each Chesterfield County school has a threat assessment team trained through evidence-based practices to evaluate potential disturbances and respond appropriately,” CCPS said in the message. “Each school also has a team trained to respond to issues affecting students and staff members in connection with the critical incident and emergency response management plan.”

CCPS says that electronic locking systems are installed at all schools and that camera surveillance continues to be upgraded.

“Our students and staff members cannot achieve their best unless they feel secure, comfortable and supported,” CCPS said. “Please know that school counselors and support services are available for anyone who needs them during this time.”

Petersburg

Dr. Julius Hamlin, acting superintendent, issued the following statement:

“Petersburg City Public Schools will have an increased presence of law enforcement at every school campus as a precautionary measure in light of the increased violence throughout the country. Both central office and school administrators are reviewing the division’s safety protocols. Our entire school community extends condolences to the Uvalde,Texas, community.”

Hopewell

Superintendent Melody Hackney said the school system will have “increased visibility and presence of our school security officers together with the Hopewell Police Department and Hopewell Sheriff’s Office.”

Hackney said the schools “will be showing our students extra attention, grace, and connection.”

“Beyond today, we will continue to evaluate and upgrade our safety awareness,” Hackney said in a release. “We will also deepen our commitment to ensure we are making connections with each of our students so that they feel seen, loved, and heard every day. We feel doing this together is so important for our whole Hopewell community.”

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