Governor Bob McDonnell introduces school safety measures


Gov. Bob McDonnell introduced eight pieces of legislation Friday designed to make Virginia’s primary and secondary schools safer.

The proposed measures include developing curricula for critical incident response training of school personnel, a requirement for schools to conduct a lockdown drill once each semester and the creation of a fund to provide facility upgrades to improve security. One of the proposals would also make it a criminal offense to enter a school armed or in possession of an explosive device with the intent to commit a felony.

“It is so important that we are doing everything in our power to provide a safe learning environment in our schools and on our campuses,” McDonnell said in a statement. “The proposals I’m making to the General Assembly will make schools and campuses in the Commonwealth safer. They will also provide the resources necessary to assist our first responders, educators and mental health professionals in protecting our schools.”

Across the aisle, however, reaction to the legislation was mixed.

Minority Leader Del. David Toscano, D-Charlottesville, approved of McDonnell’s proposal to require school districts to create threat assessment teams — who collect and report data to the Department of Criminal Justice Services — but he wanted the governor to do more to address gun control.

“We can make much more progress if we had immediate background checks for every gun purchase in the commonwealth,” Toscano said. “But the governor won’t touch it for the politics of it. It’s too politically charged.”

—compiled by Erik Payne

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