BLACKSTONE, Va. (WRIC) – Coming on the heels of a recent uptick of threats against local schools, Virginia is making a massive effort to keep students safe.  

Over $16 million dollars in grant money is going toward improving security in “high-need” school districts in the state. This comes after recent threats of violence toward Goochland High School and Nottoway County Public Schools. 

“It’s quite unsettling to the students and the parents for a school to be locked down,” Ben Green, the mayor of the town of Blackstone in Nottoway County, said.

Nottoway County Public Schools acted after a student made a threatening social media post last week with a weapon. That weapon and the threat turned out to be fake, but the fear was still real.  

“I’ve heard rumors and heard some of the situations that have happened through social media, Facebook or on the street,” Green said. “Anytime children’s safety [comes to] the forefront, then yes, it concerns me greatly.”

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced the Stronger Connections Grant Program on May 12, aiming to put an end to school violence.  

It will provide schools with advanced security equipment, threat detection technology and improved communication for emergencies. The grant program will also prioritize school districts with an increased risk of violence. 

“The kids, they need an education, they need to go somewhere safe, and go somewhere where it’s fair, and when you hear you hear opposite, then it’s alarming to any parent,” Green said. 

School districts will be able to apply from June 1 to August 1 on the Virginia Department of Education’s website here.