WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Justice recently awarded more than $1.7 million to bolster school security. The monies were distributed, in part, to the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative (OVEC), which includes Rowan County.

“Rowan County is extremely excited to be receiving $419,000 of the total OVEC award of $1.7 million for the School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) to bolster school safety measures in our district,” Julia Rawlings said. Rawlings is the assistant superintendent of Rowan County Schools.

“These federal resources will help to prevent school violence and give our students the support they need to learn, grow, and thrive," said Attorney General William P. Barr. “By training faculty, students and first responders, and by improving school security measures, we can make schools and their communities safer.”

Rawlings added that a risk assessment performed on local schools found the need for better physical surveillance, communication systems, and door systems.

Intercom systems will be installed at three elementary schools: Clearfield, Rodburn and Tilden Hogge.

Door systems will be installed at McBrayer Elementary and the new Viking Center. The Viking Center houses the central office and a preschool. It was previously owned by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

All schools will receive upgraded video surveillance systems with internet backup.

“In putting together our request for SVPP funds from the COPS office and making plans for the wisest use of those funds, we coordinated with representatives from the Morehead Police Department, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, Pathways, Inc., St. Claire HealthCare, and Gateway District Health Department,” said Supt. John Maxey in a press release.

“We believe that it is vital that we keep our community partners involved when we make changes to our security systems. Working together with these community partners – law enforcement agencies, mental health services and health care and first responder agencies – demonstrates our cooperative efforts, whether in planning or should an actual emergency arise.”

President Trump signed the STOP School Violence Act into law in March 2018, authorizing grants that are designed to improve threat assessments, train students and faculty to provide tips and leads, and prepare law enforcement officers and emergency professionals to respond to school shootings and other violent incidents.

The grant programs are managed by OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. For more details about these individual award programs, visit https://go.usa.gov/xVJuV.

Cory Claxon can be reached at cclaxon@themoreheadnews.com or by phone at (606) 784-4116.

Recommended for you