RD601 - House Select Committee on School Safety Final Report to the General Assembly – December 14, 2018
I am pleased to share with you the enclosed final report on the House Select Committee on School Safety’s work during the 2018 interim, including a list of 24 priority recommendations for consideration during the 2019 General Assembly session. These recommendations are the result of a comprehensive stakeholder-driven process and, I believe, will meaningfully improve school and student safety across the Commonwealth of Virginia if enacted into law.
I appointed the Select Committee on School Safety on March 7, 2018, following the tragic school shooting that occurred in Parkland, Florida, and the subsequent details that emerged showing clear and preventable mistakes were made by authorities and officials in charge. Though Virginia has taken steps in recent years to bolster school safety and is widely viewed as a national model, the events in Florida renewed questions about the effectiveness of Virginia’s policies and whether more could be done to ensure student safety in each of Virginia’s schools. The complexity of school safety and the thorough analysis the issue deserved warranted a more dedicated focus than could be applied in the final days of the 2018 session. Therefore, I established a bipartisan Select Committee comprised of 22 House members, representing a multi-disciplinary approach, to review Virginia’s school safety policies and make recommendations for the 2019 session. The Committee’s work was largely subcommittee-driven, which provided ample opportunity for stakeholder access and input. In total, the Committee and subcommittees met more than a dozen times and produced nearly 60 draft proposals.
The enclosed report is not an exhaustive list of school safety improvements; constant changes in our technology, culture, and educational policies will necessitate continued attention to preventing school violence. These recommendations do, however, represent consensus-driven, practical solutions to gaps in Virginia’s school safety policies. It is my hope that this report will serve as a blueprint for school safety improvements and a reference for the General Assembly to ensure the safety and well-being of our students.
Speaker Kirk Cox