RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond metropolitan area school districts are responding after the tragic Uvalde, Texas school shooting that left at least 21 dead Tuesday.
Some districts like Richmond Public Schools are choosing to add extra safety measures for students.
Richmond Public Schools
RPS will be holding enhanced searches at Richmond schools starting today. Superintendent Jason Kamras said he’s taking safety extremely seriously.
He said expect things to move a little slower today due to the added security checks and asks families not to be alarmed if Richmond police officers or cars are seen at your child’s school.
Kamras said school-specific active shooter plans have recently been looked at and updated with principals and the director of security.
Henrico County Public Schools
Henrico County Public Schools superintendent Amy Cashwell responded to yesterday’s shooting, sending out a statement to families saying, “I am grief-stricken following the senseless act of violence at a Texas elementary school that took the lives of more than a dozen children and several adults.”
She said each time there is violence on a school campus locally or nationwide, it prompts them to look at their own safety measures in Henrico schools and how they can help keep students safe.
Cashwell said students needing support should reach out directly to their school counselor. She said these resources may be helpful:
- Talking to Children About Violence
- School Violence Prevention: What to Say to Kids
- Talking to Children About School Shootings
Henrico schools also plans to have more police officers on campus the superintendent says you may see for the rest of the school year.
Chesterfield County Public Schools
Chesterfield County Schools released a statement saying safety is the district’s top priority and assured parents that they are ready for any “potential disturbances,” with electronic locking systems, security cameras and a trained response team at each school.
“We understand parents entrust their most precious gifts — their children — to our school division daily. We are committed to work and learning environments that support our diverse community and promote academic and social growth,” said the statement. “Our students and staff members cannot achieve their best unless they feel secure, comfortable and supported. Please know that school counselors and support services are available for anyone who needs them during this time.”
Hanover County Public Schools
Hanover Public Schools released a statement from superintendent Dr. Michael Gill, saying that they take a “very serious and deliberate approach” to school safety and are remining vigilant.
“Each day, we work hand-in-hand with the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, Hanover Fire-EMS, and other community partners to ensure we maintain a high level of preparedness for a wide variety of scenarios. We are grateful for their strong and long-standing support to help keep our schools and community safe,” said Gill in the statement. “Together, we work promptly to address all concerns that are brought to our attention, no matter how small. In addition, we continuously evaluate and update our safety and crisis plans and invest in school safety measures at every school to further ensure that the unique needs of each campus are met. Finally, we put these plans into action by conducting numerous safety-related drills throughout the year to help ensure a high level of readiness among our students, faculty, and staff.”
Hopewell Public Schools
Hopewell Public School Superintendent Melody Hackney issued a statement asking parents to trust the school district to protect their children.
“We will put any and all supports in place to keep them safe above all else. And somehow, we will get through this horrible event in our history better and stronger. It seems impossible now…but we have no choice. They are our first priority and you trust us to take care of them. We take that responsibility very seriously,” said Hackney in the statement. “I have no words yet of comfort, strength or peace. Truth be told, I’m struggling myself to process all of this. These horrific events don’t ever get easier. But today, we simply grieve…we support one another and your precious babies.”
Hackney ended the statement by saying that the school district will increase visibility and presence of school security officers and continue to make connections with every student so that they “feel seen, loved and heard every day.”
Prince George County Public Schools
Prince George County School Superintendent Lisa Pennycuff issued a statement offering thoughts, condolences and prayers to the Uvalde community.
“Keeping our children, faculty, and staff safe while they are at school is our top priority, and whenever these types of incidents occur, we take a close look at our safety procedures to ensure we are doing everything we can to foster safe and secure learning environments for our school community,” said Pennycuff in the statement. “The district’s relationship with the Prince George County Police Department is highlighted by its strength, collaboration, and continuous communication. As we head into our Memorial Day break and upon our return, you may see increased police presence at our campuses, and we ask that you not be alarmed by this increased visibility.”
Powhatan County Public Schools
Linda Hockaday, a Powhatan County Public Schools administrator, issued a statement saying school counselors, psychologists, and administrators will be available for any students or staff members who may need assistance.
King William County Public Schools
King William County Public Schools (KWCPS) posted a statement on Facebook stating, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Uvalde, Texas, in light of this tragic school shooting.”
The post said all KWCPS will maintain a heightened level of alert in cooperation with the King William County Sheriff’s Department “as the safety of our students and staff is our top priority.”
New Kent County Public Schools
New Kent County Schools posted a statement on their Facebook page, saying school should be a place where people feel safe and they will continue to work with the local sheriff’s office to keep the district’s schools as safe as possible.
“While we don’t make our school safety plans public, please know that our number one priority is the safety of our students and staff. We regularly review and practice our security protocols,” said the statement. “We also make upgrades and procedural adjustments to ensure the safest learning and working environment possible.”
Petersburg City Public Schools
Petersburg City Public Schools’s acting superintendent told 8News that the students perform a variety of safety drills throughout the year, and said the school safety officials attend annual training sessions with law enforcement officers.
“Petersburg City Public Schools will have an increased presence of law enforcement at every school campus as a precautionary measure in light of the increased violence throughout the country. Both central office and school administrators are reviewing the division’s safety protocols. Our entire school community extends condolences to the Uvalde, Texas community,” said Dr. Julius Hamlin, acting superintendent of Petersburg City Public Schools
8News has reached out and is waiting to hear back from other local school districts on their responses. The statements will be added to this article once they are available.