Lawmakers to vote on first few bills to make schools safer from shootings

Lawmakers to vote on first few bills to make schools safer from shootings

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - State lawmakers will vote this week on several bills aimed at making your child’s school safer from shootings and violence.

The bills are part of the twenty-four recommendations the House Select Committee on School Safety made after last year’s Parkland, Florida shooting that left 17 people dead.

The Committee proposed the bills after a year of visiting Virginia schools and hearing expert and public comments on school safety.

The first five bills up for vote would make sure schools are up to state safety codes, require training drills, make the duties of a school resource officer clear, ensure new schools are designed for safety, and redirect school counselors’s time to do more student counseling rather than administering tests.

“Counselors, who I remind everyone are specifically trained in counseling and they’re highly educated to do so, they can spend the vast majority of their time, 80 percent of their time, actually counseling students rather than on administrative tasks," said Delegate Steve Landes (R-Weyers Cave).

Speaker Cox says the state budget includes money to pay for these safety measures.

“The legislation passed this week will have an impact I feel very strongly on safety on students and teachers for generations to come," said House Speaker Kirk Cox (R - Colonial Heights).

The House Select Committee is bipartisan, however Democrats criticized it for not tackling gun control. Democratic Governor Ralph Northam has also proposed funding to higher more schools counselors.

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