Even before the Valentine’s Day tragedy in Florida, Loudoun County officials were beefing up security at schools.
A new system of screening visitors was installed last summer at all Loudoun schools. Voters passed a bond issue in November that allocates up to $11.5 million for electronic access locks on exterior doors and new security systems at 60 schools, starting in 2020.
And the school board asked for almost $4 million more in next fiscal year’s budget to hire more security patrols and make other improvements. Officials also want about $16 million in capital improvements to school entrances so staff can better see when visitors come and go.
In the wake of the Florida shootings, officials with the school district and Sheriff’s Office issued a joint statement saying that patrols have been increased and staff reminded of safety precautions and drills.
Each middle and high school already has an armed school resource officer, while drug abuse officers rotate between elementary schools. Additional security guards are assigned to each high school.
Schools regularly do “lockdown” drills, and employees are trained in what to do in emergencies. Students and staff are reminded of the active reporting theme, “If You See Something, Say Something.”
“Loudoun County Public Schools work in close coordination with our law enforcement partners,” the statement reads. “We would like to remind parents, employees and students of their responsibility to report threats or suspicious activities.”