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2013 SESSION


CHAPTER 710
An Act to amend and reenact 9.1-184 and 23-9.2:10 of the Code of Virginia and to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 22.1-79.4, relating to school safety; threat assessment teams and oversight committees.
[H 2344]
Approved March 23, 2013

 

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That 9.1-184 and 23-9.2:10 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted and that the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 22.1-79.4 as follows:

9.1-184. Virginia Center for School Safety created; duties.

A. From such funds as may be appropriated, the Virginia Center for School Safety (the Center) is hereby established within the Department. The Center shall:

1. Provide training for Virginia public school personnel in school safety, on evidence-based antibullying tactics, and in the effective identification of students who may be at risk for violent behavior and in need of special services or assistance;

2. Serve as a resource and referral center for Virginia school divisions by conducting research, sponsoring workshops, and providing information regarding current school safety concerns, such as conflict management and peer mediation, bullying, school facility design and technology, current state and federal statutory and regulatory school safety requirements, and legal and constitutional issues regarding school safety and individual rights;

3. Maintain and disseminate information to local school divisions on effective school safety initiatives in Virginia and across the nation;

4. Collect, analyze, and disseminate various Virginia school safety data, including school safety audit information submitted to it pursuant to 22.1-279.8, collected by the Department;

5. Encourage the development of partnerships between the public and private sectors to promote school safety in Virginia;

6. Provide technical assistance to Virginia school divisions in the development and implementation of initiatives promoting school safety, including threat assessment-based protocols with such funds as may be available for such purpose;

7. Develop a memorandum of understanding between the Director of the Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Superintendent of Public Instruction to ensure collaboration and coordination of roles and responsibilities in areas of mutual concern, such as school safety audits and crime prevention; and

8. Provide training for and certification of school security officers, as defined in 9.1-101 and consistent with 9.1-110;

9. Develop, in conjunction with the Department of State Police, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, and the Department of Education, a model critical incident response training program for public school personnel and others providing services to schools that shall also be made available to private schools in the Commonwealth; and

10. In consultation with the Department of Education, provide schools with a model policy for the establishment of threat assessment teams, including procedures for the assessment of and intervention with students whose behavior poses a threat to the safety of school staff or students.

B. All agencies of the Commonwealth shall cooperate with the Center and, upon request, assist the Center in the performance of its duties and responsibilities.

22.1-79.4. Threat assessment teams and oversight committees.

A. Each local school board shall adopt policies for the establishment of threat assessment teams, including the assessment of and intervention with students whose behavior may pose a threat to the safety of school staff or students consistent with the model policies developed by the Virginia Center for School Safety in accordance with 9.1-184. Such policies shall include procedures for referrals to community services boards or health care providers for evaluation or treatment, when appropriate.

B. The superintendent of each school division may establish a committee charged with oversight of the threat assessment teams operating within the division, which may be an existing committee established by the division. The committee shall include individuals with expertise in human resources, education, school administration, mental health, and law enforcement.

C. Each division superintendent shall establish, for each school, a threat assessment team that shall include persons with expertise in counseling, instruction, school administration, and law enforcement. Threat assessment teams may be established to serve one or more schools as determined by the division superintendent. Each team shall (i) provide guidance to students, faculty, and staff regarding recognition of threatening or aberrant behavior that may represent a threat to the community, school, or self; (ii) identify members of the school community to whom threatening behavior should be reported; and (iii) implement policies adopted by the local school board pursuant to subsection A.

D. Upon a preliminary determination that a student poses a threat of violence or physical harm to self or others, a threat assessment team shall immediately report its determination to the division superintendent or his designee. The division superintendent or his designee shall immediately attempt to notify the student's parent or legal guardian. Nothing in this subsection shall preclude school division personnel from acting immediately to address an imminent threat.

E. Each threat assessment team established pursuant to this section shall report quantitative data on its activities according to guidance developed by the Department of Criminal Justice Services.

23-9.2:10. Violence prevention committee; threat assessment team.

A. Each public college or university shall have in place policies and procedures for the prevention of violence on campus, including assessment and intervention with individuals whose behavior poses a threat to the safety of the campus community.

B. The board of visitors or other governing body of each public institution of higher education shall determine a committee structure on campus of individuals charged with education and prevention of violence on campus. Each committee shall include representatives from student affairs, law enforcement, human resources, counseling services, residence life, and other constituencies as needed. Such committee shall also consult with legal counsel as needed. Once formed, each committee shall develop a clear statement of: (i) mission, (ii) membership, and (iii) leadership. Such statement shall be published and available to the campus community.

C. Each committee shall be charged with: (i) providing guidance to students, faculty, and staff regarding recognition of threatening or aberrant behavior that may represent a threat to the community; (ii) identification of members of the campus community to whom threatening behavior should be reported; and (iii) policies and procedures for the assessment of individuals whose behavior may present a threat, appropriate means of intervention with such individuals, and sufficient means of action, including interim suspension, referrals to community services boards or health care providers for evaluation or treatment, or medical separation to resolve potential threats.

D. The board of visitors or other governing body of each public institution of higher education shall establish a specific threat assessment team that shall include members from law enforcement, mental health professionals, representatives of student affairs and human resources, and, if available, college or university counsel. Such team shall implement the assessment, intervention and action policies set forth by the committee pursuant to subsection C.

E. Each threat assessment team shall establish relationships or utilize existing relationships with local and state law-enforcement agencies as well as mental health agencies to expedite assessment and intervention with individuals whose behavior may present a threat to safety. Upon a preliminary determination that an individual poses a threat of violence to self or others, or exhibits significantly disruptive behavior or need for assistance, a threat assessment team may obtain criminal history record information, as provided in 19.2-389 and 19.2-389.1, and health records, as provided in 32.1-127.1:03. No member of a threat assessment team shall redisclose any criminal history record information or health information obtained pursuant to this section or otherwise use any record of an individual beyond the purpose for which such disclosure was made to the threat assessment team.