Parent Welcomes Safety Changes at Harrisonburg Public Schools

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

Harrisonburg City school leaders said they want to know who's at their schools at all times.

So they're making sure everyone stops at the office before going into every school.

One parent said she is happy to see the changes.

Ofelia Meza-Romero is keeping an eye on her kids at soccer practice on Sunday night.

She said she wants them to be safe on the field and also in the classroom.

"I've just thought how easy would be to walk in there. I've walked in there many times and no one has asked me what I'm doing," Meza-Romero said.

Her kids go to Waterman Elementary and Thomas Harrison Middle School.

Two of the five schools without a direct way to the main office.

Spotswood, Keister and Stone Spring Elementary are the other three schools in the city that will welcome visitors with greeters at the door starting on Monday.

"It makes you stop and think oh there's somebody here. I just wanna walk in like I have before I wouldn't hesitate I would just keep walking," she said.

Harrisonburg City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Kizner said some schools hired temporary greeters for the first week after winter break.

However, all of them would have permanent greeters starting Jan. 14.

"To make sure that anyone who's not a school official is going through the proper procedure and that they're checked in so we know where they are during the visits of our schools," Kizner said.

Kizner said police will be visiting Elementary schools at random times for the remainder of the school year.

He said he's also encouraging principals to invite them to school events.

Kizner said he wants officers to feel part of the school system.

Middle and high schools already have school resource officers.

"It intimidates people so I think it might be a good idea for them to have that. Something that might be a little setback is that kids are seeing police officers around they might be a little scared," Meza-Romero said.

School leaders also plan to have lock down drills.

Meza-Romero welcomes any extra steps to keep her kids safe.

"This is definitely good that they're taking precautions and do something to be ready and have kids know that these things could happen and be ready for anything," Meza-Romero said.

Kizner said they are working with the city to build entrances that lead to the main office for those five schools.

He's hoping this can be done before the start of next year.

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