Several localities in the 20th House District have been awarded school safety grants this week by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. The grant is from the School Security Infrastructure Improvement Fund which was created by the General Assembly during the 2013 session.
Augusta County was awarded $60,116 for improvements to Craigsville Elementary, Fort Defiance High, North River Elementary and S. Gordon Stewart Middle. Highland County was awarded $846 for improvements to Highland High School. Nelson County was awarded $100,000 for Nelson County High School. Staunton was awarded $53,302 for Bessie Weller Elementary, Robert E. Lee High and Shelburne Middle, and Waynesboro was awarded $63,554 for Berkeley Glenn Elementary and Wenonah Elementary.
“During the 2013 General Assembly Session recent tragedies, perhaps most notably the tragic events that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut in December of 2012, caused the General Assembly to examine school safety in the Commonwealth” said Delegate Dickie Bell (R-Staunton). “One area that we found needed some significant improvement throughout the Virginia was the security infrastructure within many of our schools. Therefore, we passed legislation that established the School Security Infrastructure Improvement Fund. This is an important step that will give localities additional resources that they need to ensure that every child, teacher, and staff member will remain safe at school.”
House Bill 2343 was originally proposed and written by House Republicans during the 2013 General Assembly session. The General Assembly authorized $31 million, including $6 million specifically for this program, for school safety and security in the 2013 state budget. That also included $1.7 million to hire additional school resource officers across the Commonwealth. The General Assembly authorized an additional $6 million for school security infrastructure improvements in the 2014 budget.
“Our children deserve a safe classroom environment where they can focus on learning without fear of violence. I am proud of the steps that the General Assembly took in 2013 to help ensure this safety, and I am pleased to see the impact of these efforts right here in our community.”