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Central Virginia schools upgrade security after Sandy Hook

Posted at 11:26 PM, Oct 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-22 06:36:45-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- At home, after the school day, with her 13-year old in sight is when one mom is most at peace.

“Times are very different from when we were kids,” says Shannon McClure.

She tells CBS 6’s Lorenzo Hall, she was rattled after learning about Monday’s shooting at a school in Nevada.

“My son is 13. It could've been him. It could've been his teacher,” says McClure.

Following the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, many school districts in Central Virginia vowed to reassess and if needed, revamp school security measures.

Nearly a year later, CBS 6 checks up on the area’s largest school systems to see if any changes have been made.

Chesterfield County Public Schools formed a partnership with Virginia Tech in order to review the school system's threat assessment process. Chesterfield spokesperson Shawn Smith said that school leaders are working toward creating more realistic emergency drills, as well as streamlining building design to make facilities safer.

"Virginia Tech leaders have led several meetings with our student support service specialists and county mental health support providers to discuss trends and best practices," Smith said. "Projects in the November bond referendum include safety enhancements for schools.”

Henrico Public School spokesperson, Andy Jenks says several enhancements have been made. They include:

  • Installation of door access security mechanisms to complete this implementation at all Elementary Schools, Middle Schools and select Specialty Center High Schools.
  • Construction of a vestibule at Hermitage High School and Highland Springs High School so that all “contained” high school campuses are configured to direct all visitors to the main office prior to entry to the school.
  • Standardization of interior locks so that staff does not require multiple keys.
  • Key Pad entry systems for faculty access to secured remote doors of certain schools.

In Richmond, School spokesperson, Felicia Cosby says, the district partnered with Richmond Police to provide some staff members and administrators with active shooter training.

While McClure likes the approach being taken by school districts, she thinks parents need to reassess and revamp as well. “He could do something behind my back that I don't know about and a lot of parents think that their kids wouldn't do that, but, your child can,” says McClure.