VIRGINIA (WJHL) — In an effort to improve school safety, several schools in Southwest Virginia are set to receive nearly $1 million dollars from the state department of education to spend on school security equipment.

The funds are part of a $12 million statewide School Security Equipment Grants that the Virginia Department of Education says will pay for:

  • video monitoring systems
  • voice and video internal communications systems
  • school bus interior cameras
  • mass notification systems
  • visitor-identification systems
  • access control systems
  • two-way radios
  • security vestibules and other security upgrades

Statewide, 583 schools in 93 school divisions will receive the funds. In Southwest Virginia, the schools are:

Wise County — $114,716 for Central High, Coeburn Middle, Coeburn Primary, Eastside High, J.W. Adams Combined, L.F. Addington Middle, St. Paul Elementary, Union High, Union Middle, Union Primary, Wise Co. Alternative Ed. Ctr. and Wise Primary.

Washington County — $46,416 for Abingdon Elementary, Damascus Middle, E.B. Stanley Middle, Glade Spring Middle, Greendale Elementary, John S. Battle High, Rhea Valley Elementary, Valley Institute Elementary and Wallace Middle.

Tazewell County — $200,571 for Abb’s Valley-Boissevain Elementary, Cedar Bluff Elementary, Dudley Primary, Graham High, Graham Intermediate, Graham Middle, Richlands Elementary, Richlands High, Richlands Middle, Tazewell High, Tazewell Intermediate, Tazewell Middle and Tazewell Primary.

Scott County — $58,082 for Gate City High, Gate City Middle, Hilton Elementary, Rye Cove High, Twin Springs High and Weber City Elementary.

Russell County — $75,758 for Castlewood High, Honaker Elementary, Lebanon High and Lebanon Primary.

Norton — $97,043 for Norton Elementary.

Lee County — $250,000 for Dryden Elementary, Elk Knob Elementary, Elydale Middle, Flatwoods Elementary, Jonesville Middle, Lee High, Pennington Middle, Rose Hill Elementary, St. Charles Elementary and Thomas Walker High.

Dickenson County — $43,920 for Ridgeview High and Ridgeview Middle.

Buchanan County — $71,200 for Council Elementary/Middle, Hurley Elementary/Middle, Riverview Elementary/Middle and Twin Valley Elementary/Middle

“The health and safety of students and school staff is paramount,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane. “These grants are an important part of equipping schools with the systems necessary to mitigate security risks, detect threats and connect schools with first responders. The commonwealth continues to lead the nation in proactively addressing school safety as VDOE works in partnership with other state agencies and local school divisions to keep students, faculty and visitors safe in our schools.”

VDOE says the criteria for getting grant money gives priority to schools most in need of modern security equipment, schools with relatively high numbers of offenses, schools with equipment needs identified by a school security audit and schools in divisions least able to afford security upgrades.