Security and Emergency Management

Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) is committed to providing a safe environment for students, staff, and visitors. We work closely with national, state, and local safety officials – emergency management, police, fire, emergency medical services, and public health – to ensure our schools are well prepared for an emergency. Together, we have developed a comprehensive Emergency Response Plan covering a wide variety of emergencies that serves as a guide to help staff and our public safety partners respond swiftly should a crisis occur in our schools.

The information included on this page provides an overview of the many safety measures Virginia Beach City Public Schools has implemented. Please report any safety concerns you may have to your school principal.

What security measures are provided in our schools both during the day and after hours?
We strive to be proactive rather than reactive where safety and security are concerned. The following measures are in place in the interest of the safety and well-being of every VBCPS student.

  • Each school has a Crisis Response Team with selected members that have participated in specific training to ensure appropriate response on a variety of potential school emergencies.
  • All exterior school doors are either locked and/or under surveillance.
  • Interior and exterior Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) is installed in all schools.
  • As a condition of entry, visitors must sign-in, be vetted and wear a visitors I.D. badge.
  • Mass notification devices have been placed in schools designed to alert occupants of an emergency at the push of a button.
  • Each school is assigned at least one (1) Security Assistant who is responsible for vetting visitors and ensuring safety and security protocols throughout each school day.
  • All principals and key administrators have cell phones with text messaging capability and an emergency radio at their disposal.
  • Each school has a minimum supply of 25 two-way radios to assist in emergency communications.
  • Intrusion alarms are installed in every school.
  • After-hours security staff monitor all schools.
  • The school division’s parent notification system AlertNow will be used to call and email parents during an emergency in order to provide the most current information about the situation.
  • Each school has an Emergency Response Plan that serves as a guide for a variety of school emergencies.
  • Students are constantly reminded to share any information with their School Resource Officers (SRO) or school staff that could be potentially harmful to a school.
  • Code of Student Conduct and supporting School Board policies and regulations.

How can parents be assured that our schools remain safe?
One of the top priorities in the school division is to create a learning environment free from disruption. Testimony to this, are the security measures we have. This is also echoed in the Code of Student Conduct and supporting School Board policies and regulations.

The Division of School Services - Office of Security and Emergency Management has recently been expanded and is continually reviewing and updating security measures to include new technologies and procedures in order to provide the safest environment possible for our students and staff. We consult with national, state, and local safety officials to gain knowledge of updated best practices on the subject of school safety and learn lessons from other school divisions.

Most importantly, parents should know that safe school audits are conducted on a routine basis in every school. The audit process provides a comprehensive overview of Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ overall security and emergency preparedness. The information gathered from the audit is used to improve security and emergency preparedness throughout the school division.

Even with the most stringent of policies and the implementation of sound protocols, there are no full-proof guarantees associated with safety and security. We can however guarantee is this: An absolute commitment to staying continually vigilant and aware and to working with law enforcement on an ongoing basis because, as has already been contiually proven, effective communication is the key to proactive success.

What is the role of a School Resource Officer (SRO)?
School Resource Officers (SRO) are uniformed Virginia Beach police officers assigned to schools to help create a safe and positive learning environment by building and maintaining successful working relationships between police, school administrators, students, parents, and staff. All middle and high schools have a SRO on-site; however, they are also available to respond to the feeder elementary schools when needed.

What is the procedure if a student or community member reports a suspected threat or reports seeing a weapon on school property?
All threats are taken seriously by staff members and school administration. If you see or hear of a direct threat against any person or place, immediately call 911. For all other suspected threats, pPolice are notified, and officers and school personnel work together to thoroughly investigate any threat, whether it is made verbally, in writing, via email, text message, online or social media. Most importantly, if a student, parentparent, or community member has knowledge of a threat, we encourage them to immediately report it to police or school officials instead of spreading rumors. Anonymous tips can be made directly to the Virginia Beach Crime Solvers using the Report It function via the VBSchools mobile app, The sooner we know about a potential threat – the sooner the investigation can begin.

Is school safety training ongoing for staff?
Yes, new security assistants are required to receive state mandated certification training and Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) de-escalation training. Security assistants must complete CPI System recertification training, and Basic First Aid, CPR and AED training every 2 years. Additionally, emergency preparedness training, drills, and tabletop exercises are conducted throughout the school year.

Each summer OSS coordinates and conducts training for administrators choosing topics based on challenges faced during the previous school year.

What kind of safe schools/emergency training have you provided school staff?
The Office of Safety and Loss Control offers training on an annual basis for principals, assistant principals, school security assistants, guidance counselors, social workers, and psychological staff. Emergency preparedness, crisis intervention and managing violence are the focus of this training. We also provide staff training on the associated software applications necessary to operate the many security resources and systems that we employ.

Do teachers know what signs to watch for with regards to suicide or potential violence?
Each school has a Crisis Intervention Team Manual, which provides several lists of warning signs for suicide or potential violence that students might display. Staff is encouraged to talk to these students, notify their parents about their concerns and refer them to the school counselor, to psychological services, or to outside mental health providers if necessary. Schools are encouraged to review these procedures and warning signs on a regular basis. Staff training is available on request to the Offices of Safe Schools and Psychological Services. VBCPS also utilizes a school network monitoring application known as “Securly” that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This application is isolated to the VBCPS network only. Securly identifies concerning communication that might indicate one of our students is in the midst of a crisis and allows our staff to react and make appropriate notifications quickly.

What disciplinary action does the school take if a student makes a threat – credible or otherwise?
Anyone who makes a threat against a school could face criminal charges. A threat could be made verbally, in writing, via email, text message, online or by way of social media. As appropriate to the situation he/she will be recommended for expulsion or other disciplinary action such as alternative placement as outlined in the Code of Student Conduct.

How does the school division communicate with parents should there be a credible threat against a student or school?
Should there be a threat to cause harm against a student or school, the first call to action will be to investigate this threat in partnership with the local police. Depending on the specifics of the threat, an individual parent could be contacted. The school division also has access to a rapid notification system AlertNow. This communication system allows the principal or school administration to quickly send information out via phone and/or email. Letters are often sent home to parents and announcements can be posted on individual school websites or the division website vbschools.com.

With a large number of students using social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or any other online source, does anyone from the school division monitor these outlets for threats that could potentially cause harm to a school, students, or staff?
The school division is not in the position to monitor social media accounts for the more than 67,000 students in our schools. When we are made aware of a potential threat, where a private networking account is associated, school administration works in tandem with police to review the source and nature of the threat when appropriate. VBCPS does however utilize a “Securly” web filtering application that monitors online activity conducted within the school division’s network. Securly is an application that notifies the Office of Safe Schools expediently should a user be communicating flagged content such as threats or self-harm.

Often cases of student violence can be linked to reports of bullying against a fellow student. How is the school division approaching anti-bullying in its schools?
Bullying is classified as prohibited conduct in any school or school activity and is not tolerated in any school, or school-sponsored activity, program or event. Students identified as being the source of bullying and or making threats against a student could be recommended for expulsion in accordance with School Board Regulation 5-36.3 and the VBCPS Code of Student Conduct. To discourage this type of behavior, the school division has implemented the following:

  • All schools in the division are required to have a character education program. In support of this, the subject of bullying is discussed with all students at the beginning of each school year, during a review of the Code of Student Conduct.
  • Many schools have implemented a positive behavioral support system as a school-wide initiative that emphasizes respect for others.
  • Teachers are trained to reinforce character and leadership skills to decrease discipline referrals associated with bullying.
  • Bullying prevention programs are coordinated through the Office of Student Support Services. More information can be attained by calling the Office of School Counselling at 757.263.2070 or contacting your school’s counsellor.
  • You can also find information at the “Bullying” information page within the School Counselling web site.

What is the referral/examination process if a staff member has concerns about the emotional state or behavior of a student?
Our school division policies provide a comprehensive outline on how staff members should respond to a student who is suspected to be amid a psychological crisis. In essence, the process is to have the staff member make a verbal or written referral to a school administrator. The school administrator will then investigate the referral to determine the appropriate course of action. If deemed necessary, a threat assessment is conducted by a school psychologist.

What services does the school division offer for students who may have/or be suspected of having emotional problems or who may pose a danger/threat to others?
The school division does offer direct mental health services for students who may have emotional problems or who may pose a danger/threat to others when these issues affect the students’ educational performance or relationships with others in school through our psychological services staff. The staff consists of licensed clinical and school psychologists who provide individual and group counseling to students and consultation to school staff and parents. They work with parents to discuss strategies that can be implemented during school hours or options to seek outside assistance when those issues have no educational impact or are beyond the limitations of school personnel.

As a parent or student how can we help keep our schools safe?
School safety is everyone’s responsibility – staff, students, parents, and the entire community. Please report any safety concerns you may have to your school principal. Students and parents can be crime stoppers. If you have information about criminal activity in school, on school grounds, or in our community call: 1.888.562.5887.

Students and parents can be crime stoppers. If you have information about criminal activity in school, on school grounds, or in our community call: 1-888-562-5887.