WJCC schools awarded $54K for security upgrades

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WJCC plans to use the funds from a state grant to purchase additional security cameras at Clara Byrd Baker Elementary. (File photo)
WJCC plans to use funds from a state grant to purchase additional security cameras at Clara Byrd Baker Elementary. (File photo)

Two local schools will be getting security camera upgrades and new access control systems thanks to a grant from the Virginia Department of Education.

According to a news release from Willamsburg-James City County schools, a total of $54,432 from the state’s 2016 School Security Equipment Grant Program was awarded to the public school system.

WJCC plans to use the grant funds to purchase additional security cameras at D.J. Montague Elementary and Clara Byrd Baker Elementary, the release stated.

“School safety is a fundamental element of offering every Virginia student a world class education in an environment where they can learn, grow and thrive,” Governor McAuliffe said Thursday in a state news release announcing the awards. “These grants will give our administrators the resources they need to keep students and educators safe so they can focus on preparing for success in the new Virginia economy.”

According to the release, the state awarded a total of $6 million in School Security Equipment Grants to 434 schools throughout the Commonwealth. The grants will fund video monitoring systems, metal detectors, electronic-access controls, visitor-identification systems, direct communications links between schools and law enforcement agencies, and other security upgrades.

The program was established by the 2013 General Assembly in the aftermath of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., the release stated.

“Parents rightfully expect that public schools will provide safe and orderly environments in which all students can focus on learning,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said in the release. “The enhancements and systems supported by these grants will help schools meet this basic expectation.”

This is the fourth time WJCC has earned a security equipment grant from the state, according to a release from WJCC. In the past, the funds went to security camera upgrades and improving access control systems.

According to the state news release, the largest grant a school division may receive under the program is $100,000. As a condition of the grant, the winning school system is required to fund at least 25 percent of equipment costs.