Radford City Public Schools is among the grant awardees recently announced by the Virginia Department of Education for a total of $12 million in state School Security Equipment Grants.
The VDOE said the grants will be used “to protect students, faculty, and visitors in 583 schools in 93 school divisions. The grants will pay for video monitoring systems, voice and video internal communications systems, school bus interior cameras, mass notification systems, visitor-identification systems, access control systems, two-way radios, security vestibules, and other security upgrades.”
Radford was awarded $82,915 for Belle Heth Elementary, John N. Dalton Intermediate, and Radford High School.
A local match of 25 percent is required of most divisions with only three school divisions with composite indices of local-ability-to-pay of less than 0.2 — Buena Vista, Lee County, and Scott County — exempt from the local-match requirement.
“The health and safety of students and school staff is paramount,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane. “These grants are an important part of equipping schools with the systems necessary to mitigate security risks, detect threats, and connect schools with first responders. The commonwealth continues to lead the nation in proactively addressing school safety as VDOE works in partnership with other state agencies and local school divisions to keep students, faculty, and visitors safe in our schools.”
The criteria for making the awards developed by VDOE and the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services were to 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,” according to the VDOE.
The School Security Equipment Grants program was established by the 2013 General Assembly in the aftermath of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. The 2019 Appropriation Act doubled the total annual appropriation for the grant program — effective in 2020 — from $6 million to $12 million.