Safety continues to be discussed ahead of Roanoke City Public Schools first day

The Roanoke City Public Schools logo at its administration building on Wednesday.
The Roanoke City Public Schools logo at its administration building on Wednesday.(Will Thomas)
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 9:39 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Roanoke City Public Schools held a virtual town hall Tuesday night to hear from parents. Most of the early discussion at the meeting involved school safety.

“We will be implementing over 25 additional safety measures this year, totaling more than $4 million,” said Verletta White, superintendent of RCPS.

Roanoke City Public Schools, like many school systems, will have added security once the doors open again. Some of those include more school resource officers, assistant principals in every school, more mental health services and a 24/7 safety tip line.

“Because of your input and because of our research and what we have looked across the nation in case of best in practice, we were able to get those recommendations approved,” said White.

For one parent, she understands the direction RCPS is going with these new safety measures. But feels some areas need more funding than others.

“As far as increasing the mental health support and the bullying hotline, I think the SRO money would be put to better use if it was to put more other preventive measures in place, because there are so many things that a lot of our students are having to deal with at home, and that stuff is obviously going to carry over into the school,” said Katrina Wood, a parent of an RCPS student.

The importance of prevention came up often at the virtual town hall, including after one parent asked RCPS how it will stop students from taking guns to school in their backpacks.

“It’s gotta start with the parents and guardians in our division. Parents and guardians need to be asking questions, what’s going on in that school, what’s in those backpacks, what’s going on, you can help us keep our schools safe,” said Chris Perkins, chief operations officer for RCPS.

With almost 14,000 kids in the division and around 8,000 households, it’s understood that whether it’s safety or SOLs, it will take everyone at RCPS moving forward.

“Things are still tough, but if we can work together and try to get some of the anger and hatred out of everything, it’s for our kids,” said Wood.

“I know it’s going to be a fantastic school year, I hope that you are excited too,” said White.

You can find the full virtual town hall here.

Copyright 2022 WDBJ. All rights reserved.