PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Petersburg City Public Schools temporarily heightened police presence on Friday in a proactive effort to curb trends of rising violence in the school system.
Petersburg Superintendent Julius Hamlin said he was worried that the classroom has become more than a place of learning these past few weeks — it has become a place of violence.
“Things are starting to progress in the wrong direction,” Hamlin said.
School fights aren’t a new phenomenon. However, as they become increasingly prevalent, school officials recognize the importance of being able to address issues with sufficient resources.
“Typically, we can quell those skirmishes,” Hamlin said. “Our concern is when we see them start to pick up.”
On Friday, Oct. 21, seven additional law enforcement officers joined the standard staff of about five or six. Richmond, Henrico, and Chesterfield County Public Schools have all witnessed students attempting to bring weapons on campus over the past month, Hamlin said that is his biggest fear.
“The last thing we want is to see a weapon make its way into our institutions,” he said.
Hamlin elaborated on other efforts Petersburg City Schools have implemented recently to combat student-on-student violence.
“We’ve already upgraded our security camera systems we installed this past summer,” Hamlin said. “And an opportunity to make sure all our secondary schools have clear backpacks.”
The school system will continue to monitor the degree of concern at Petersburg High School within the next few school days to determine how long the increased police presence will be needed.