When students go back to school in Roanoke City on August 20th, there will be some different security features at many of the schools.
At Lucy Addison Middle School, visitors will go through a new entryway to get to the main office. As part of a security upgrade, the main office was moved to the front of the building and the entryway is now an enclosed space. This ensures office personnel are able to properly vet visitors to the school before allowing them entry.
“So if I come to the school and I want to do harm, I can go no deeper than this vestibule here,” says Chris Perkins, chief of security at Roanoke City Public Schools.
The school district has always had security measures in place and calls these security measures enhanced, rather than new. Many other schools throughout the district are also getting security improvements.
“We went with the highest priority schools. This was one because of the gap between the office and the front door. And so, you will see these at several of our schools throughout the district,” says Perkins.
In addition to the security enhancements, there will also be training on how to properly respond to emergency situations, including mass shootings.
“We do train in that. That’s something-the traumatic effect of school shootings is very prevalent in our country right now. And while it is a rare occurrence, we have to be prepared for that,” says Perkins.
Some parents visiting the school were pleased with the new entryway.
“I think it’s a good thing, just having more control about who’s coming in and who’s exiting the building. It’s a lot safer,” says Cherese Lewis, whose son Latrell will be starting the eighth grade.
The new entryway at Lucy Addison cost the district around $180,000.