School Safety Committee presents bipartisan recommendations on mental health

steve landesDel. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, Chairman of the House Education Committee, participated in today’s meeting of the House Select Committee on School Safety, which heard Subcommittee recommendations today.

As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Student Behavior and Intervention, Delegate Landes presented the Subcommittee’s recommendations to the full Committee.

The Select Committee met today to hear presentations and recommendations from all three Subcommittees.

“The Subcommittee on Student Behavior and Intervention has been tasked with developing policies to improve school safety that focus specifically on student behavior, intervention, and interaction. The recommendations from the Subcommittee presented today were comprehensive, inclusive, and representative of everything we have heard over the course of our work this summer,” said Landes.

“We have heard from school climate and safety experts from academia, school counselors and mental health professionals, and directly from students themselves to develop the proposals presented today. Virginia has always been a leading state in school safety and today’s Select Committee hearing has introduced a number of worthy proposals for the General Assembly to consider.”

Collectively, the full Committee and its Subcommittees have met more than a dozen times in locations across the Commonwealth, heard from numerous experts, and received hundreds of comments from the public. Recommendations from the Subcommittee on Student Behavior and Intervention include mandated training for School Resource Officers, threat assessment team members, and school personnel; implementation of an annual statewide school climate survey; and realigning the responsibilities of school councilors so they may devote their time to providing much needed counseling to students.

House Democratic Leader David Toscano and House Democratic Caucus Chair Charniele Herring offered criticism of the recommendations presented on Tuesday.
“There are many good bipartisan recommendations worthy of support, especially those which provide greater mental health services to students, but much more work remains to be done, particularly in determining the costs of those options and whether they are all sound policies for the Commonwealth,” their joint statement reads. “The recommendations unfortunately do little to address the dangers of gun violence in our schools or neighborhoods. We remain committed to revising the reasonable, cost-effective recommendations while also taking measures to keep dangerous firearms out of the hands of troubled students.”

Additional information on recommendations from the Subcommittee on Student Behavior and Intervention, as well as all Subcommittees, may be viewed at schoolsafety.virginia.gov.

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