The security systems of Dogwood Elementary School are expected to get an upgrade after state Gov. Ralph Northam awarded five Fairfax County Public Schools a state grant.
The $236,102 grant pays for video monitoring systems, mass notification systems, visiter identification technology, two-way radios and other security upgrades. It was established through the School Security Equipment Grants program, which was passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2013 following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Four other schools were selected for the grant: Crestwood Elementary, Parklawn Elementary, Riverside Elementary and Whitman Middle School. The grant is given to schools that are most in need of modern equipment, cannot afford the equipment, or have a relatively high number of offenses.
This year’s grant favored elementary schools at the recommendation of Northam’s Students Safety Workgroup.
A local match of 25 percent is required of most divisions to accept the grant.
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The signs had recently been reported stolen from a playground in Mantoloking, N.J., and from Mystic, Conn.
The signs were each dedicated to victims of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School: 7-year-old Chase Kowalski and 7-year-old Grace McDonnell.
Andrew David Truelove, 28, was charged with possession of stolen property, Herndon Police said. Additional charges are pending in the other two states, they added. Truelove is being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.
The memorial signs were recovered at a home in the 400 block of Fillmore Street in Herndon where Truelove rented a room, police said. The Herndon investigation began after a tip from the Stonington (Conn.) Police Department.
Twenty children and six adults were killed in the December 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn.
NBC Connecticut reported earlier this month that, after a 50-pound vinyl peace sign was stolen from a Mystic playground honoring the memory of McDonnell, a man called her mother to tell her that he believed the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax and that her “daughter never existed.”
Photo: Sign memorializing Grace McDonnell/Credit: WTNH.com