Virginia makes more money available for school security grants

With Lee County announcing its intention  earlier this month to become the first school system in Virginia to arm teachers, partly because it’s cheaper than hiring officers, Gov. Ralph Northam’s office says an additional $1.3 million is available in grants for police and security.

“Ensuring the safety of Virginians, especially of our youth, is a core function of government. It is important that we take sensible approaches to increasing security,” Northam said.

Localities can apply to the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety, housed within the Department of Criminal Justice Services,  for a one-time, 12-month grant to pay for school resource officers and school security officers.

The department has made the money available earlier than usual and has increased the amount of money for individual school resource officer and security positions. Localities can also provide in-kind services to meet match requirements, intended to make the money more accessible.

“Over the past several months, we have heard from our public safety, school, and mental health professionals, as well as parents and students, about the critical role SROs and SSOs play in our schools. We have also heard about the challenges some localities face in funding these positions,” said Brian Moran, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security. 

Virginia policymakers have been grappling with how to increase school security in the aftermath of the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

Information on the grant program can be found here.

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Robert Zullo
Robert has been winning and losing awards as a reporter and editor for 13 years at weekly and daily newspapers, beginning at Worrall Community Newspapers in Union, N.J., where he was a staff writer and managing editor. He spent five years in south Louisiana covering hurricanes, oil spills and Good Friday crawfish boils as a reporter and city editor for the The Courier and the Daily Comet newspapers in Houma and Thibodaux. He covered Richmond city hall for the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 2012 to 2013 and worked as a general assignment and city hall reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2013 to 2016. He returned to Richmond in 2016 to cover energy, environment and transportation for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He grew up in Miami, Fla., and central New Jersey. A former waiter, armored car guard and appliance deliveryman, he is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact him at [email protected]