Friday, November 11, it was announced that Pulaski County Public Schools is one of several schools located throughout the Commonwealth that will receive part of $12 million in grants for security updates.
Pulaski County and Roanoke County received the largest grants in the area, $250,000 each, which is the maximum allowed by the program. Other areas receiving grants include Bedford County ($175,100), Giles County ($127,162), Franklin County ($49,911), Montgomery County ($25,894), Botetourt County ($28,161), Floyd County ($23,538), and the City of Radford ($16,540).
“Each year, school divisions are eligible to apply for the Virginia School Security Equipment Grants program,” Chris Stafford, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Business Operations said. “This is a competitive grant process and this year, Pulaski County Public Schools was one of the few school divisions to receive the maximum award of $250.000. There is also a local match of 25% required to receive the grant. The funds awarded for this year’s grant will be designated for Critzer Elementary, Dublin Elementary, Pulaski Elementary, and Pulaski County High School.”
Stafford wrote the successful grant proposal for PCPS.
While it is the policy of Pulaski County Public Schools to not advertise perceived weaknesses in any school security plan to prevent someone from exploiting those areas, funds from this grant are regularly used to add new or enhance existing security measures such as security cameras in school buildings and on buses, radio equipment for secure communication, badge or key access systems for entrance doors, and many other items.
Pulaski County Public Schools partner with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police, the Pulaski County Department of Emergency Management, and other area first responders to regularly conduct inspections and walk-through tours of Pulaski County schools to offer insight on possible improvements that could be made.
First responders also regularly conduct training in the school buildings throughout the county, during non-school days, to ensure that they are familiar with the buildings. During these training events, PCPS staff and employees served as volunteer “good guys” and “bad guys” to make the training even more realistic and effective.
“The safety of our students is the number one priority of Pulaski County Public Schools and our schools already have advanced systems in place to address the issue of safety,” Stafford said. “This grant will allow us to continue to upgrade our school security equipment to provide additional layers of protection to maintain the safest possible learning environment for our students.”