RICHMOND, Va. (WDVM) — The Virginia Department of Education announced $12 million in state school security equipment grants today. The department says the grants will fund 489 schools in 102 school divisions for systems to protect students, faculty and visitors.
The grants will fund security programs such as video monitoring systems, school bus interior cameras, mass notification systems, visitor-identification systems and other security upgrades.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam says the state doubled its funding from $6 million for security equipment.
“This year, we have doubled the amount of assistance available to help Virginia school divisions protect our students and the educators, administrators, and staff dedicated to preparing them for success,” Governor Northam said. “We remain focused on supporting students and their families in navigating the pandemic and preparing for in-person learning to resume, which includes ensuring that our schools have all the necessary technology, equipment, and systems to keep everyone safe and to respond to emergencies.”
The maximum award per school division was also increased from $100,000 to $250,000 by the General Assembly last year, a move proposed by the governor.
“Virginia is a national leader in school security and the grants announced today support our proactive approach to creating and maintaining safe learning environments,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said. “In many cases, the equipment and systems divisions will purchase with these funds address vulnerabilities identified through the commonwealth’s pioneering school security audit program.”
VDOE and the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services developed criteria for making awards to schools. Schools most in need of modern security equipment, schools with a relatively higher number of security-related offenses and schools least able to afford upgrades are given the highest priority.
The School Security Equipment Grants program was established by the 2013 General Assembly in after the December 14, 2012, mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
A full list of school divisions awarded grants can be found on the VDOE website.
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