VIRGINIA BEACH — As unfortunate as it is there’s no way around it: School safety is on everyone’s mind.
And that’s especially true of those in the schools themselves, both staff and students.
To that end the Virginia Beach City Public Schools has formed a Blue Ribbon Panel on School Safety and Security to lead the district’s safety planning efforts, but they’re also interested in hearing from the community.
“We know our schools are safe places; we have people and resources in place to ensure that,” said Aaron Spence, VBCPS superintendent.
However, he said the Blue Ribbon Panel still wants input from the community and accordingly has planned two public meetings.
Both will be held at Kellam High School on May 15. The first will be at 4:30 p.m., and the second at 7 p.m.
Seating for each of the gatherings will be limited to the first 500 registered participants.
“This Blue Ribbon Panel will build upon that strong foundation by bringing together some of the area’s top security experts and community leaders to deeply examine our current systems and to recommend ways to improve our practices,” Spence said.
Hearing from the community, he added, is an important part of that process.
Those who are unable to attend the meeting will still have the opportunity to offer their thoughts via an online, eTown Hall.
As part of their planning efforts the panel will visit schools, review plans, and speak with staff. They will take their recommendations to the school board during the summer.
Discussions during the public meetings will focus on three key questions:
- What does the school do well in proving for school safety and security?
- What gaps exist that need addressed?
- What new resources can be added, or what existing resources can be used in different ways to strengthen school safety and security?
Safety measures currently in place can also be viewed online.
The Blue Ribbon Panel was formed in April. In addition to school personnel, officers from Naval Air Station Oceana and representatives from the Virginia Beach Police Department are included on the panel.