RPS superintendent says security upgrades underway inside school buildings

RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras says the division is upgrading security measures inside school buildings.
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 1:26 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Recalling his third year as a teacher, Jason Kamras thought the massacre at Columbine High School would have been a wakeup call for America. But all these years later, the deaths continue to mount.

“It’s 376 school shootings since Columbine. I mean, it’s an unimaginable number and we are the only the country in the world that has this problem,” said Kamras, who is now Richmond Public Schools superintendent.

In response to the Tennessee school shooting, Kamras says the issue comes down to two things.

First, he says, it’s unfathomably easy to get an assault rifle in America. And second, he says, we don’t have adequate resources to address mental health.

“And when you put those two things together, as it appears was the case in Nashville, and had been the case in so many others, we tragically end up, all too often, with dead children and dead teachers, and it is unacceptable,” said Kamras.

Kamras says the division is upgrading security measures inside school buildings.

Those include newer intercom systems, adding swipe card access and installing intruder alert systems in case any door opens that shouldn’t. RPS is also considering metal detectors at all middle schools.

“I hate doing that, but at the end of the day, we have to make sure we’re taking every possible step to keep our kids safe,” said Kamras.

At the state level, Kamras says a 2008 cap on school funding for support staff needs to be lifted. He says while the state is seeing an influx of tens of thousands of new students, they actually have fewer counselors and social workers today.

“The money is there. The question is, is the political will there to finally give our kids what they so desperately need,” said Kamras.

The superintendent also requested an enhanced presence of officers at schools Tuesday out of an abundance of caution. Kamras also says he keeps in close contact with the city’s police chief over school safety issues.