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Commonwealth's Counties

Troubling school security bill defeated in subcommittee

A problematic school security bill, HB 2734 (Bourne) that would have resulted in heavy costs to localities, was defeated Monday night.

HB 2734 was intended to accomplish three main objectives.  First, it directed the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to establish compulsory minimum training standards for law enforcement officers serving as school resource officers and provided a list of new criteria that such training must include.  Second, the bill directed DCJS to establish similar compulsory minimum training standards for all school security officers and required that all such officers receive this training and certification from the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety (VCSCS).  Finally, it required that every public school in Virginia employ at least one administrator who has been trained and certified by the VCSCS.

While there was significant debate and disagreement amongst subcommittee members about the substance of these compulsory training standards, VACo’s concern was the feasibility and expense of requiring hundreds of school security officers and school administrators to attend this VCSCS training.  As the program currently exists, the VCSCS training is a weeklong program that is only held onsite in Richmond three or four times a year.  Requiring so many officers and administrators to undertake this training would result in significant costs that would be borne by localities, including travel, lodging, and per diems.  DCJS is hopeful that future additional funding will allow them to develop online options for training, but this is a long way from fruition.

The House Courts of Justice Committee voted 4-3 to pass HB 2734 by indefinitely.

VACo Contacts: Chris McDonald, Esq. and Jeremy Bennett

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