In addition to new district-wide safety measures, Newport News schools will have extra patrols in the form of volunteers when the school year starts on Aug. 28.

Volunteers with the Uvalde Foundation, which formed after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Texas, will patrol around - but not on - school grounds.

"The patrols are not designed as a one-time showing," said Foundation founder Daniel Chapin. "This is an ongoing concern at the school and at the district."

The Uvalde Foundation has been involved in Newport News since first-grade teacher Abby Zwerner was shot by one of her students.

It awarded the district a grant to help with building safety, but then revoked it as more details about the administration’s response to the shooting came out. 

Spokespeople for Newport News Public Schools and the police department said they have not coordinated with the Foundation on the patrols.

“We are not aware, nor do we have any type of arrangement/agreement with the Uvalde Foundarion,” Newport News police spokesperson Kelly King told WHRO in an email.

But Chapin said their volunteers don’t necessarily have to be in touch with local authorities. 

“We don’t require permission from the police department. We let the police department know where we will be patrolling – we don’t go off those perimeters,” he told WHRO.

The Foundation’s volunteers will not be armed and will wear a tshirt for identification. They’re trained in CPR and conflict mediation and are instructed not to engage in conflict, but contact first responders or law enforcement if a problem appears, Chapin said.

“This is an extra level of encouragement for the school community and security and safety for students,” he said.

The Foundation wanted to provide patrols at Huguenot High School in Richmond. That school’s graduation in June was the scene of a mass shooting.

The Foundation deserted those plans after pushback from the Richmond district.

Newport News Public Schools are a member of HRETA, which holds WHRO’s license.