School security changes are in progress in Roanoke County to keep our local students safe when they head back to class. After the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the school board discussed ways to keep students safe.
One of the many changes you'll see at a Roanoke County public school is a kiosk all visitors will have to go through before meeting someone inside.
Visitors sign in, get a picture taken, and have their driver's license scanned. The kiosk goes through the national sex offender registry to see if the name on the license matches anyone on the registry. If there is a match, police are called.
"Recently a lot of schools have a button you push and they beep you through," says parent Mark Malick, "but there's nothing to stop a crazy person from coming into the school."
Another thing new this year is that every employee of Roanoke County public schools gets a key card to get into the building, but having a key card doesn't allow access to all the buildings. It's controlled by where the employee works and what time they are allowed to be inside the buildings.
There is some construction work, too. They're installing what they call "storefronts," which is another barrier before someone goes inside the school.
"This is something the school board felt was very important to do," says Chuck Lionberger with Roanoke County Public Schools. "They made it a top priority. It has been a top priority for us all through the summer, something our crews have been working very hard on."
The extra security measures cost $2 million. Malick said the extra time it takes for him to get through the doors is an added peace of mind.