PORTSMOUTH, Va. — School is out for summer, but the city of Portsmouth is already preparing for the next year.
Recent grant money given to the city will double the number of school resource officers (SROs) currently in the city.
After seeing instances of violence in several Hampton Roads schools, Portsmouth City Council members say they want to take additional steps to make their schools safer. To start out, 9 new SROs will be added to the schools this upcoming school year.
A grant of more than $1 million from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice services will be used for the salaries and benefits for the new school resource officers, according to city officials.
Portsmouth public schools are made up of 23 schools, including 13 elementary schools, where city council member De’Andre Barnes says a handful of the new officers will go.
He says the ultimate goal is to get SROs in every school.
“At the end of the day the school board and the school system and the city council want to make sure that our schools are safe and that when our kids are going to school, they can just focus on learning,” said Barnes.
Currently Barnes says the schools use metal detectors, but some people want more resources put towards safety.
“They’ve asked us for more money when it comes to identifying people walking into the school with guns and things of that nature, and we want to be able to give that ,” says Barnes.
Barnes says the issue is still being discussed among city council members.