Alexandria unveils security enhancements at public schools

Students who are headed back to school in Alexandria, Virginia, later this month will see more security around their buildings.

The Northern Virginia city’s public school system released a list of security enhancements, including posting more security guards at all middle and high schools.

All students in middle and high schools will be required to carry student IDs, and schools will have designated entrances for students, staff and visitors to better regulate who comes and goes.

“We recognize that everyone in our school community plays a role in ensuring the well-being, safety and security of our students,” said outgoing Superintendent Gregory Hutchings. “You can support our efforts by staying up to date on ACPS student well-being, safety and security measures.”

Police officers known as “school resource officers” will be back at four schools this year including Alexandria City High School, the Minnie Howard Campus of ACHS, Frances C. Hammond Middle School and George Washington Middle School.

The school resource officer program was reestablished following pressure from parents. The school system has had problems with dozens of fights and weapons, on and off campus, including the stabbing death of a student at the Bradlee Shopping Center during a brawl in May.

“As the school year progresses, additional measures will be implemented as warranted and communicated to families, staff and the community,” the school system said in a statement.

The system plans to maintain a staggered dismissal process at the King Street and Minnie Howard campuses of Alexandria City High School.

“This practice was successfully implemented at the end of the 2021-22 school year and reduces the volume of student congregation within the facility and the amount of students exiting the facility simultaneously,” the school system said.

Each school will have 30 minutes of designated time each day in which students receive “social-emotional learning.” Structures such as community circles will be used to reinforce positive behavior interventions and supports.

Melanie Kay-Wyatt is becoming the school system’s interim superintendent, replacing Hutchings who announced his resignation in June. Hutchings’ last day will be Aug. 31.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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