Governor orders schools to review safety checks
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–Governor Bob McDonnell said he is heartbroken over the tragedy in Newtown and wants to do everything possible to prevent a similar tragedy in Virginia.
McDonnell said he and his wife spent hours sobbing in front of their television on Friday.
“Having five children of our own, we can’t imagine the evil and horror that occurred in that classroom,” McDonnell said.
On Monday the governor issued an executive order asking his Secretary of Public Safety and Secretary of Education to review the safety and security procedures of every school in the Commonwealth and to make recommendations where needed.
All 2012 school safety audits have just been completed.
In Virginia’s largest school districts–including Richmond, Chesterfield and Henrico County–strict security measures are already in place.
A majority of schools remain locked throughout the school day, and there various safety drills are practiced one to four times a month. School safety or resource officers are in place at most of the middle and high schools.
Each school in the Commonwealth also undergoes yearly safety audits, which entails more than a thousand safety and security measures.
However, Henrico School Safety Coordinator Christine Bailor says there are always vulnerabilities and ways to improve safety.
“We do safety audits every year at every school,” Bailor said. “If we didn’t find some way to improve safety at that school, I don’t think we would be doing our jobs very well.”
Delegate Kirk Cox, R-Chesterfield, says he agrees with the governor’s decision. Cox has been a teacher for 30-years and says he’s eager to review safety measures and propose possible legislation that could improve safety for Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens.
“Your first thought is how you protect the great kids that you have,” Cox said. “You know when something like this happens, you have to re-double your efforts and you have to look at everything.”