School Starts with New Security Measures in Place

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email

SHENANDOAH COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- The first day of school in Shenandoah County has wrapped up and so has the first trial of new security measures.

Last year Shenandoah County had resource officers in seven of the 10 schools in the system.

After an agreement made between the county and the sheriff's office on funding the sheriff's office agreed to fund 80 percent of the cost of having a full-time resource officer at every school.

Acting Shenandoah County Superintendent Kevin Castner has been in public education for nearly 40 years.

"I have not seen another SRO program like the one in Shenandoah county. I think it should be a benchmark for other school systems," said Castner.

Prinicpal Melissa Foltz at WW Robinson Elementary said having an officer in each school makes her feel a lot safer.

"That school resource officer last year was shared with another school. So now having a resource officer on site all the time is paramount," said Foltz.

Castner said this program is not like any he has seen before.

"I think this is pretty significant and I think that it should be unique in the sense of the cooperation of the county and the sheriff's office and with the school system," said Castner.

Over the summer, WW Robinson has made a new entry way into the building, you have to be buzzed in.

"If we are at all suspicious, we won't allow entry into the building," said Foltz.

Visitors have to check through a new process.

"To be screened to make sure there isn't a red flag for those people," said Foltz

There are magnets placed on each classroom door, which keep the doors mostly open.

"By removing the magnet and getting them shut we can go into lock down mode very quickly," said Foltz.

The new security measures are only enhanced by the officers patrolling the hallways all day every day.

"School safety is front and center for any school campus. I think that this school system has gone above and beyond to meet that need and it should give great comfort to the parents," said Castner.

The sheriff's office tells me that over the next five years, the percentage of funding will switch, having the county fund the majority of the school resource officer program.

Meaning these officers aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

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