Del. Steve Landes talks school safety legislation
This week, the first bills from the Committee will pass out of the House of Delegates.
“The House Select Committee on School Safety has been solutions oriented and sharply focused on our students’ safety since its creation in March of 2018. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Student Behavior and Intervention, we have been tasked with developing policies to improve school safety that specifically focus on student behavior, intervention, and interaction,” said Landes. “We’ve had a number of recommendations regarding counselors. School counselors told the Committee over and over again they are all too often being tasked with administrative responsibilities, such as coordinating testing, which prevents them from actually providing counseling services to students. I am proud to be carrying legislation, House Bill 1729, to require counselors spend at least 80% of their time actually counseling students. These counselors are specially trained and highly educated and this bill will ensure they spend the majority of their time counseling and less time performing administrative duties.”
The first five pieces of legislation will make it to the floor of the House of Delegates this week, where they will be voted on by the full body. The Select Committee has been solutions-oriented and focused on putting the safety of students over politics. Collectively, the full committee and the subcommittees met more than a dozen times in locations across the Commonwealth, received hundreds of comments from the public, and heard from many subject-matter experts. The initial five bills are listed below:
- House Bill 1725, sponsored by Delegate Barry Knight, R-Virginia Beach, requires each school board, in consultation with the local building official and local fire marshal, to develop a procurement plan to ensure that all security enhancements to public school buildings are in compliance with the Uniform Statewide Building Code and Statewide Fire Prevention Code.
- House Bill 1729, sponsored by Delegate Steve Landes requires each school counselor employed by a school board in a public elementary or secondary school to spend at least 80 percent of their staff time during normal school hours in the direct counseling of individual students or groups of students.
- House Bill 1732, sponsored by Delegate Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, requires each public elementary and secondary school to conduct at least one general safety/emergency training or drill for students per year.
- House Bill 1733 sponsored by Delegate Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock requires the school board in each school division in which the local law-enforcement agency employs school resource officers to enter into a memorandum of understanding with such local law-enforcement agency that sets forth the powers and duties of the school resource officers.
- House Bill 1738, sponsored by Delegate Nick Rush requires a licensed architect who is trained and experienced in crime prevention through environmental design to approve plans and specifications for new or remodeled public school building construction.
Landes represents the 25th House District, which includes parts of Albemarle, Augusta, and Rockingham Counties. Landes is currently serving his twelfth term in the Virginia House of Delegates. Visit SteveLandes.com for additional information.