LEWISBURG (WVDN) – The safety and welfare of students and staff are the highest priority for Greenbrier County Schools officials, and Greenbrier County Schools partners closely with law enforcement organizations to place Prevention Resource Officers (PROs) in middle and high schools, facilitate emergency drills, staff and responder evaluation of emergency operations plans, and improve response skills focused on protecting students and staff, saving lives, and reducing injuries, according to a press release from the board office.
When school begins on Aug. 29, all elementary schools in Greenbrier County will also welcome a trained uniformed police officer to their school security team. Funded for two years through Elementary & Secondary Emergency Relief Funding (ESSERF), this proactive school security initiative allows Greenbrier County Schools to pilot on-campus contracted police services with uniformed officers with arrest powers. The officers, who will have a consistent presence in their designated school, are not there to discipline or police students. The officers will enhance school safety and security and protect students and staff, says a press release from the school system.
“Providing a safe and secure environment for our students and staff is job one. Considering recent school tragedies, we feel that placing officers in our schools is necessary, ” said Superintendent Jeff Bryant.
“These uniformed police officers will receive training on maintaining safe schools, handling student and school security threats, and facilitating drills. The officers will prioritize ensuring a safe school environment and responding to potential threats. Renewing the levy will allow us to continue this initiative and our Prevention Resource Officer program, ensuring we can maintain police officers in all our schools,” he said.
In cooperation with the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office and the Greenbrier County Police Association (GCPA), Greenbrier County Schools will conduct active shooter training for law enforcement at two area schools on Aug. 22 and 23. The eight-hour training course, led by First Lt. Bart Baker of the sheriff’s office, will allow responders to evaluate facilities, review emergency operations plans, and improve response skills. Officials want to assure the public that this is only a drill.
Additionally, a mandatory eight-hour training course for officers participating in contracted police service at Greenbrier County Schools will be held on Thursday, Aug. 25.
“Regrettably, we must plan and practice for such possible occurrences. However, we realize that emergency drills are essential for the safety of our students and staff. We appreciate our local law enforcement and emergency services agencies’ collaborative efforts to make this training a reality. We are working together to provide the safe, uninterrupted learning environment that our children deserve,” said Bryant.
On Nov. 8, citizens will vote on the renewal of the special school levy that includes a 10% increase for a 60% levy rate that provides for continued funding for officers in schools in addition to items currently funded through the levy.
Additional information on the special levy is available at greenbriercountyschools.org.