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Blue Ribbon Panel formed to work in unison on school safety

School, security and community leaders will gather this spring, forming a Blue Ribbon Panel on School Safety and Security to analyze the city's public school division's current security practices and procedures and provide recommendations on moving forward with improved school safety.

Panel members include officers from Naval Air Station Oceana, representatives from the Virginia Beach Police Department and staff from the Virginia Beach Child and Youth Services Division. They will work in unison with principals and staff from the division's offices of Safety and Loss Control and Student Support Services for a comprehensive review of schools' security practices.

Specifically, the panel will work to answer three main questions:

  • What are the division's current best practices?

  • What division and community resources can be deployed in other ways to strengthen this work?

  • What gaps exist that need to be addressed, either in processes or assets (e.g., personnel, security equipment)?

The panel will meet and work through June, with the tentative goal of providing a report of findings and recommendations for the School Board at its annual retreat in July.

School administration has already begun increasing security measures at schools in the 2018-19 school year.

As part of the budget development process, for example, funds were identified to install a buzz-in locking system at every school and center in the division beginning this year.

"To be clear, our schools are safe; we have dedicated staff members in this division who ensure that our schools are secure and welcoming places for our students and families each and every day," said Superintendent Arron Spence. "However, with student safety and well-being as our top priority, we have an obligation to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to provide the safest school environments possible. I am thankful we have such capable and willing community partners to aid in this work and share their expertise. I have full confidence in this panel's collective ability to bring forward innovative recommendations and practices to implement in our schools."

To learn more about other safety and security measures already in place, visit http://www.vbschools.com/schools/safety/index.asp.

For more information about this panel's work or the new buzz-in system, please contact the Office of Safety and Loss Control at 757-263-2450.

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