NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News Public Schools has proposed a new plan to keep students and staff safe while at school.
It’s been a little more than two weeks since a 15-year-old boy allegedly brought a gun into Heritage High School, got into an altercation with another student and ended up firing, injuring two students.
Students at both Heritage High and Huntington Middle schools have been learning virtually since the incident.
On Tuesday, the Newport News School Board called a special meeting to listen to a presentation from school administrators about the district’s revised safety and re-entry plans.
District leaders presented a layered safety approach that uses a variety of tactics and safeguards to ensure students and staff are safe on campus.
The Newport News School Board will review the safety plan again in two weeks and will vote on whether or not to implement it.
The revised safety plan calls for six school security officers at Heritage High, one at Huntington Middle School and a dedicated school resource officer for both schools — along with assigned SROs in all of the district’s high schools.
Problems with consistent security was identified on Sept. 20 when the shooting took place because one of Heritage High’s four security officers was not in the building at the time of the shooting and the school’s one SRO was at An Achievable Dream on a split assignment.
School leaders also detailed a plan to include more random metal detector checks and safety scans. Superintendent Dr. George Parker answered inquiries from board members about permanent metal detectors saying they would not be feasible in the long run because it would take too much time out of the school day to constantly check students. He said it would also affect their morale. District leaders explained that increasing random screenings would be just as much of a deterrent.
As for a re-entry plan for Heritage and Huntington students, the district has a five-phase approach to make sure everyone has the resources they need. There is no set date to introduce students and teachers back into the building. Counseling for students and staff along with take-home resources will be available indefinitely.
School Board member John Eley told 10 On Your Side he feels optimistic after reviewing the new plan.
“I think it’s a great plan, I think the school division, I think the superintendent all came together to listen to the community,” Eley stated.