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Local Schools Receive Grant Money for Security Equipment

School safety remains a hot topic for parents everywhere, and in the modern age of security, the race is on for school administrators to find the best technology to keep kids safe.
FREDERICK COUNTY, Va. -- School safety remains a hot topic for parents everywhere, and in the modern age of security, the race is on for school administrators to find the best technology to keep kids safe.

"I think what parents want are safe schools and we have safe schools," said Steve Edwards, policy coordinator for Frederick County Public Schools. "We're concentrated on improving safety and security in our buildings, and we think this is a step in the right direction," he added.

Frederick County Schools are among 459 Virginia schools that will be receiving a portion of $6 million in grant money to improve school security equipment.

"We're going through the process right now of putting new doors and new door hardware on the main entrances at our elementary schools,'' Edwards said. "We will be moving to a buzz-in system."

Governor Bob McDonnell proposed legislation, sponsored by Winchester Delegate Beverly Sherwood in February to improve school security. The grant would help schools pay for features like: video monitoring, metal detectors, ID systems and electronic access controls among others.

"By installing and going to a buzzer system and seeing how that works in these buildings and possibly expanding that to middle and high schools, I think that's something the community will be pleased with," Edwards said. He says middle and high schools int he county already have resource officers, while elementary schools don't.

Frederick County applied to have 14 schools funded; they were ultimately awarded a $34,385 grant for six schools. The schools that will receive the grant money are Admiral Richard E. Byrd Middle, Apple Pie Ridge Elementary, Bass-Hoover Elementary, Dowell J. Howard Center, Northwestern Regional Educational Programs and Stonewall Elementary.

Winchester Public Schools already have buzz-in features. The district was awarded $100,000 in grant money to add security features to two schools: Garland R. Quarles Elementary and Virginia Avenue Charlotte DeHart Elementary.  Warren County was awarded $71, 410 for A. S. Rhodes Elementary, Bessie Jeffries Elementary, E. Wilson Morrison Elementary and Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary.

Schools were given priority in the competitive application process if they met certain criteria such as: lacking modern security equipment, having an older building and not being able to afford upgrades. Officials with the governor's office say the money will be distributed in the form of reimbursements to the school districts. Districts can apply for another security grant next June.

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