School boards; employment of at least one school resource officer in elementary & secondary schools. (SB415)

Introduced By

Sen. Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) with support from co-patrons Del. Tim Anderson (R-Virginia Beach), and Sen. John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

School boards; school resource officers; employment; threat assessment. Requires each school board to enter into a collaborative agreement with the local law-enforcement agency to employ at least one school resource officer in each public elementary and secondary school in the local school division. The bill provides that no school board shall be granted any full or partial waiver from such staffing requirements and that no school board that fails to fully comply with such staffing requirements is eligible for any grant or waiver from the Commonwealth, Board of Education, or Department of Education. The bill also requires each division superintendent to include on the threat assessment team established for each public elementary and secondary school in the local school division at least one school resource officer employed in the school. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

DateAction
01/11/2022Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/22 22104064D
01/11/2022Referred to Committee on Education and Health
01/28/2022Impact statement from DHCD/CLG (SB415CHP)
01/28/2022Impact statement from DPB (SB415)
01/28/2022Impact statement from DHCD/CLG (SB415)
02/01/2022Assigned Education sub: Public Education
02/03/2022Senate committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered
02/03/2022Failed to report (defeated) in Education and Health (4-Y 11-N) (see vote tally)

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HB873.

Comments

VA NOW (National Organization for Women), tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

This raises concerns about children having negative encounters with police officers at a young age. A 2015 Center for Public Integrity report found Virginia had the highest number of student referrals to law enforcement - more than double the national average. A Virginia Tech analysis found that minorities and students with disabilities were disproportionately represented in the students referred to law enforcement. The ACLU of Virginia strongly opposed these bills, saying that police in schools too often become the go-to person for enforcing discipline, increasing the likelihood that routine misbehavior could lead to criminal charges.
SROs undermine the academic environment and allow for the escalation of routine administrative discipline. We need to invest in school nurses, counselors and other supportive services.

ACLU People Power Fairfax writes:

We share VA NOW's concerns and congratulate all those who voted NO on this bill in the Education Committee. It was rightly defeated. The disproportionate impact on students of color is our primary concern. We note in addition that the state should not be taking local control away from School Boards who know and should determine what their individual school's needs are. SRO expansion would be extremely costly, and most schools surveyed listed behavioral and mental health as the most pressing safety concerns. Increasing teacher pay is ​also a higher priority and badly needed especially during this pandemic.

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