Pittsylvania Co. Officials Push for New Security Changes in Schools

Pittsylvania Co., VA - Officials in Pittsylvania County laid out a bold new plan Thursday to upgrade safety and security in the schools.

The Pittsylvania County Sheriff's office, school board and supervisors have developed an extensive initiative, and now they want your feedback.

Sheriff Mike Taylor said the groups met some time ago to discuss the idea of increasing school safety. But after the latest school shooting in Newtown, Taylor said it was time to move forward.

"This initiative will make our schools a safe place for our children," said Taylor.

It's a seven step plan that Taylor and school leaders hope the public will get behind. They want to limit the number of entrances to each school and lock the vestibule areas during the day.

The plan also calls for metal detectors and surveillance cameras.

"We think we can make these initiatives for the most part in our schools and it will provide a safer learning environment for our kids and for our staff, and that's what is most important to us," said James McDaniel, superintendent of Pittsylvania County Schools.

They also want an armed deputy at each school. That's 20 people they'd have to hire and train.

But Sheriff Taylor says that's a small cost to ensure the safety of students and staff.

"We have limited resources, but we are committed that if the public wants this, we are going to do whatever it takes to put this in the forefront and get this program done."

It will be up to the Board of Supervisors to approve funding for it, but leaders hope money will not hold the project back

"I hope that we'll get support from federal, state, local.." said Steve Mayhew, principal at Dan River High School.

Dan River High School is one of five schools in the county that already have a resource officer.

Mayhew says most of the principals agree that it is time for a change.

"We were very supportive of it. Everybody is very excited and we hope that this initiative - this goal - gets met," he said.

If the plan is pushed forward, taxpayers would fund a large amount of the new measures. That's why officials want to hear from the community.

Folks are invited to attend an information meeting on the new initiative Monday at 7 p.m. at the Olde Dominion Agricultural Complex in Chatham.

Also, you can submit feedback by taking a survey here.