Rockingham County School Board Delays Decision on Safety Additions

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va.--The Rockingham County school board delayed its decision on adding security measures at schools on Tuesday.

The $68,000 proposal would add electrical latches to office doors and a communication system at vestibules in 17 schools.

Rockingham County Schools Director of Maintenance Steve Reid said this would allow office personnel to keep track of who is at the school.

"Someone will come into the vestibule and would not be able to enter into any place in the school until they communicate with the office, " said Reid.

The office staff will press a buzzer to release the electrical latch for a person to be able to go into the office. The visitor would then go through the normal check-in procedure.

The board planned to pay for the latches with $500,000 the board of supervisors gave to the schools for safety. However, the board already designated the money on other upgrades, such as cameras and secure vestibules.

The school board would need to receive extra money from the county for the upgrades.

Parent Tim Wood said he doesn't support the measure.

"I just think they need to think it through and do it for the right reasons not because something happened in Connecticut or somewhere else," said Wood.

Reid said safety is always a priority for the school system.

"School safety is always foremost with Rockingham County and it continues to be," said Reid.

According to Reid, the measure would also make all schools equal. Seven schools already have the latches and the system.

Wood said he does not think all the schools need it.

"Sometimes you have to suit needs to in certain schools just for the fact that they need it. Does not mean your school needs it," said Wood.

The communication system, however, would not be the same at every school. Some of them would include video for office personnel to see the visitor. At schools, such as East Rockingham High School, it would not be necessary because you can see a person from the window.

If the school board approves the measure, the latches and communication system would be installed before the start of the next school year.

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