Legislation that would have required each local school board to employ at least one school resource officer or one school security officer at each public elementary and secondary school was brought back from the jaws of defeat by the Senate Education and Health Committee with new language. As previously reported, HB 873 (Greenhalgh) would have imposed significant negative fiscal impacts to local governments via an unfunded mandate. As such, the Senate Education and Health Committee’s Public Education Subcommittee recommended laying the bill on the table following testimony from VACo and other K-12 associations.
However, on March 3, the full Senate Education and Health Committee entertained a substitute to this bill that contains language significantly different from the original version. The latest version of the bill would require any local school division threat assessment team to include a school resource officer if there is a school within the division in which a school resource officer is employed. Furthermore, it would require the chief law-enforcement officer for any school division in which a school does not employ a school resource officer to designate a law-enforcement officer to complete in-person or online a school safety training for public school personnel conducted by the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety.
These changes remove the primary fiscal impact concerns voiced by VACo. The full committee reported and referred the bill to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee by a vote of 11-4.
VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett