Local Sheriff Recognized for Student Safety Workgroup

TAZEWELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WOAY) – Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety sent a letter of appreciation to Sheriff Brian Hieatt for his service on the Student Safety Workgroup, part of the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, that included funding increases for training school officials.

“This funding will help us continue the training and assessments we have been conducting,” said Hieatt. “This year we implemented the Handle with Care program in our schools, so being appointed to this workgroup gave me an opportunity to share the ideas and advancements we have implemented in school safety here in Tazewell County with the rest of the state.”

Hieatt was selected for the workgroup due to his experience and leadership working in the public school system.

Workgroup recommendations that passed through the General Assembly included a $6 million funding increase for school security equipment and over $1.5 million increase to provide for School Resource Officers across the state. Tazewell County’s schools benefited from both of these initiatives.

The General Assembly also passed mandated training for all School Resource Officers and school administrators after recommendations from the Student Safety Workshop. Other recommendations that passed included funding for Threat Assessment Team Training, School Safety Training, and Active Shooter Awareness Training.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.