CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — A study released in July revealed how Virginia ranks in school safety measures compared to other states.
The majority of the study found Virginia was either leading other states or on par with their safety plans, but there was room for improvement.
One Chesterfield parent who spoke 8News said she thinks the schools keep her daughter safe but she also prepares her child for a worst-case scenario.
Before the new school year starts in Chesterfield County, Angelique Steward spends a girls’ day out with her two daughters.
“Pay attention to what’s going on around you,” said Stewart.
Stewart’s daughter Alianna is ready to start second grade, but her mother offers her advice before.
“To be kind to one another you know,” Stewart said. “It could minimize a situation that could escalate.”
Safety ranks as a top priority for Stewart.
“If you see someone that may not look very safe and might look dangerous to you, tell a teacher,” said Stewart. “My big thing with her is don’t be afraid to tell a teacher. The teacher is your protector while you’re not at home.”
The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission recently presented its findings on school safety in the Commonwealth to state leaders.
The goal of the review is to find out how Virginia ranks compared to other states when preventing and responding to shootings.
The report found Virginia is a leader in terms of creating teams in schools that respond and review each threat.
Nineteen states require schools to partner with emergency personnel when drafting a safety plan but Virginia does not.
Despite this, Chesterfield County leaders told 8News that the county and emergency personnel have been collaborating, including a recent active shooter drill this past weekend.
“Public safety, police, fire and EMS, along with the schools are going to be working hand in hand,” Chesterfield Fire and EMS’ Lieutenant Jason Elmore said. “We need to start doing that in advance.”
The report also found while Virginia uses the “see something, say something” app, it’s not exclusive to school safety, and how to use it has not always been clear for students and parents.
Stewart told 8News she never heard of the app but would love to see the school system promote it.