RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today awarded $6 million in School Security Equipment Grants to protect students and teachers in 102 school divisions and the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind. The grants will pay for video monitoring systems, metal detectors, classroom locks, electronic-access controls, visitor-identification systems, direct communications links between schools and law enforcement agencies, and other security upgrades in 443 schools and other instructional facilities.
“Since its inception in 2013, the school security equipment grant program has funded nearly 2,900 new projects and system upgrades to ensure the safety Virginia students and educators,” said Governor Northam. “These grants are a key component of the Commonwealth’s comprehensive approach to protecting schools.”
The criteria for making the awards — developed by the Virginia Department of Education and the state Department of Criminal Justice Services — give priority to schools most in need of modern security equipment, schools with relatively high numbers of offenses, schools with equipment needs identified by a school security audit, and schools in divisions least able to afford security upgrades.
“Student safety is always the number one priority of the educators and support personnel in our schools,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane. “These grants allow schools to purchase the improvements and technology needed to address the findings of annual security audits.”
The divisions awarded the school security equipment grants are as follows:
The largest grant a school division may receive under the program is $100,000. A local match of 25 percent is required of most divisions. Three school divisions with composite indices of local-ability-to-pay of less than 0.2 — Buena Vista, Lee County and Scott County — and the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind are exempt from the local-match requirement.
The School Security Equipment Grants program was established by the 2013 General Assembly in the aftermath of the December 14, 2012, mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
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