Youngkin Signs School Safety Audit Bill from Del. Taylor, Amends Del. Greenhalgh’s SRO Bill


Virginia’s schools will be required to collaborate with the chief local law enforcement officer when conducting required safety audits.

“It is critical to have collaboration between local law enforcement and their school districts for the safety of our children. The requirement to provide safety audits allows safety recommendations to be made to school boards in a timely manner,” bill sponsor Delegate Kim Taylor (R-Dinwiddie) said on the House floor in February.

Under existing law, districts are already required to conduct safety audits following a list of items created by the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety, with reports published within 90 days. If request, the district must provide the report to the chief local law enforcement officer – a sheriff or police chief depending on the locality. When it takes effect, Taylor’s bill makes sharing the report with the officer mandatory, and requires collaboration with that officer or his designee.

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed the bill in March.

“It’s one more step in making sure that our kids are safe, our schools are in safe facilities,” Taylor told The Virginia Star.

Separately, the House of Delegates and the Senate both passed HB 873, Delegate Karen Greenhalgh’s (R-Virginia Beach) bill initially aimed at requiring school resource officers (SRO) in every school, but the final version instead requires law enforcement officials to designate an officer as liaison with administrators in schools with no SROs. The Virginia Association of Counties reported in March that was a response to their concern that the requirement of SROs in every school was an unfunded mandate.

Although the House approved the Senate’s changes, last week Youngkin sent the bill back to the legislature with an amendment restoring the requirement that each school have an SRO. The legislators will vote to approve or reject that amendment at the end of April.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].

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