South Lakes Sentinel

FCPS implements new safety measures

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FCPS implements new safety measures

Photo Courtesy of change.org

Photo Courtesy of change.org

Photo Courtesy of change.org

Photo Courtesy of change.org

Birk Slothouber, Staff Writer

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Fairfax County Public Schools are currently implementing new safety measures to prevent violence in schools. On the 27th of July, the school board approved a new budget, allocating 4 million dollars in funding for multiple new safety measures, based on a report by the FCPS Office of Safety and Security. The report was commissioned by Superintendent Scott Braband after the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people. Students, parents, FCPS employees, law enforcement, and administrators contributed to the report.

As part of the new budget, 781,000 dollars are being designated to hiring staff to run and improve lockdown drills and safety training along with improving visitor management procedures. Lockdown drills will occur with more frequency, and at least one is planned to occur in-between classes or during a lunch period. One million dollars will be spent replacing dual-keyed locks with push locks. Classroom doors will be required to be locked at all times.

The School Board also reserved 2.2 million dollars to be spent on hiring 18 mental health specialists.

Additionally, it was recommended that security cameras be placed in middle and elementary schools and that School Resource Officers be placed in elementary schools, although these procedures were not implemented. Concerns regarding some of these proposals were raised by members of the Fairfax County NAACP and Fairfax County Special Education Parent-Teacher association at School Board hearings. Fairfax County NAACP Education Committee Chair Sean Perryman testified “We cannot guarantee that more cops in schools will protect children and lead to less shooting…We do have evidence, however, that the introduction of cops to schools lead to a more common problem: the criminalization of black, brown, and disabled students. It’s my love and effort to protect those children that leads me to say we need counselors, not cops.”

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FCPS implements new safety measures