Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 17, 2012

Virginia to review school safety policies


Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia plans to review school policies and procedures, as well as funding and resource challenges to ensure the safety of students and educators in their classrooms.

Gov. Bob McDonnell on Monday said it is the duty of state and local government to do everything possible to ensure “young people from kindergarten through college are able to “learn and thrive in a safe and secure environment.”

McDonnell has asked asked Secretary of Education Laura Fornash and Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker to review recently submitted school safety audits with school superintendents. They will identify any changes in procedures or additional resources needed in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut.

The governor also created a task force of educators, public safety exports, local leaders and legislators to review school safety. Officials said the goal of the task force is to identify any needed funding or legislative changes that could be brought before the General Assembly before its veto session in March.

McDonnell also announced a new position within the state Department of Criminal Justice Services dedicated to issues associated with school and campus safety. The position originated as a recommendation from the Governor’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board. It will be funded using existing resources, officials said.