Va. Governor Signs School and Campus Safety Legislation
MIDLOTHIAN, Va. — At an event at Robious Elementary School here, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed 12 pieces of legislation designed to make Virginia’s schools and campuses safer.
Speaking about the signing, Gov. McDonnell remarked, “In response to the appalling and tragic murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., I issued Executive Order 56 on Dec. 20 of last year in order to establish a multidisciplinary taskforce to comprehensively review school and campus safety in Virginia. As a result of the Governor’s Taskforce on School and Campus Safety’s diligent work, and in partnership with the General Assembly, we have identified practical solutions to greater ensure the safety of those who attend, and those who serve on, Virginia schools and campuses.”
In addition to the legislation signed today, Gov. McDonnell this year identified strategic budget investments to improve school and campus safety. Including increased funding for school resource officers and mental health services such as psychiatric and crisis response services, mental health first aid training, and a comprehensive statewide suicide prevention program.
School Safety Legislation Signed:
- HB1871 (McClellan) — Defines “bullying” in the Code of Virginia and requires each school board to include in its code of student conduct policies and procedures that prohibit bullying.
- HB1864 (Robinson) — Clarifies a school may deal with school-based offenses through graduated sanctions or educational programming, unless a delinquency charge is filed after a school principal reports certain acts to the local law-enforcement agency.
- HB2343 (Sherwood) — Creates a special fund to provide grants to localities, subject to local match, for facility upgrades in order to improve security.
- HB2344 (Cole) — Requires each school superintendent to establish a violence prevention committee and threat assessment team similar to those required for Virginia’s public institutions of higher education. The legislation also provides that school systems must annually collect and report quantitative data to the Department of Criminal Justice Services.
- HB2345 (Yost) — Directs the Departments of Criminal Justice Services, Education, Behavioral Health and Development Services, and State Police to develop a model Critical Incident Response training program for school personnel and those providing services to schools.
- HB2346 (Ransone) — Requires each school division to designate an emergency manager to coordinate school preparedness within the division. It also mandates that schools conduct a lockdown drill once each semester.
- HB2347 (Ramadan) — Facilitates the sharing of juvenile law enforcement records by the principal of the school to threat assessment teams.
- SB1376 (Martin) — Expands current Virginia law by extending civil immunity to any person who reports in good faith, information that an individual poses credible danger of serious bodily injury or death to one or more students, school, personnel or others on school property.
- SB0899 (Reeves) — Bumper stickers on school buses. Authorizes local school divisions to place decals on the rear of school buses noting that the buses stop at railroad crossings.
- HB1609 (Hugo) and SB1342(Petersen) — Provides that the governing board of each public four-year institution of higher education shall establish written memoranda of understanding with its local community services board or behavioral health authority and with local hospitals and other local mental health facilities in order to expand the scope of services available to students seeking treatment.
- SB1378 (Garrett) — Provides that a person who engages in the “strawman” purchase of a firearm, where he purchases a firearm with the intent to resell or transport with the intent to resell outside of the Commonwealth to any person he knows is prohibited from purchasing a firearm, is guilty of a Class 4 felony and shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one year.
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