January 7th, 2019

This article originally appeared on 10 on your side news. To view the original article, click here.

Aesia Toliver
Nov 19, 2018

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — In an era of mass shootings, school officials nationwide are dipping into funds to make sure their students are as safe as possible, and it’s no different in Hampton Roads.

Portsmouth Public Schools recently spent $1 million on upgrades.

“School safety is absolutely necessary, so all these steps are necessary in insuring our kids are safe,” said Churchland Middle School Principal Barbara Kimzey.

Some of that money went to new visitor check in machines and 10 On Your Side got an inside look at the new system after it was installed two weeks ago at Churchland Middle School.

“The Raptor system gives us another layer of security,” added Kimzey.

With the Raptor system any visitors, from vendors to parents, have to hand over their drivers license when checking in.

It’s then dropped in this machine and ran through a sex offender and criminal database.

If it’s a match, administrators like Principal Barbara Kimzey respond and take measures like asking them to leave campus.

“It really helps with with our sense of security. Yes it’s true there is a lot of stuff going on in other communities and that kind of thing, and our job in Portsmouth is to keep kids safe.” explained Kimzey.

This new system is an addition to a school resource officer, metal detector, cameras, and consistent active shooter training, but Kimzey says the heart of her school’s security is communication.

“The key to school safety is the people, so staying very in touch with our parents and students especially so they feel comfortable reporting any issues because that is always our first line of defense,” she stated.

A new camera system is also in the process of getting installed at Churchland Middle School. That means they’ll go from 30 cameras throughout the building to nearly 100 that can be watched through large monitors.

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