Currently, Virginia School Resource Officers (SROs) are not required to receive training in working with children and youth. We expect nearly anyone working daily with children to receive training on child development and appropriate interactions with children, why would Virginia not require the same of SROs?
After the Parkland shooting, Virginia lawmakers turned attention to what students felt they needed to be safe in school. Students who spoke up on panels and attended meetings mentioned improving their interactions with SROs as something they needed to feel safe in school. SROs needed to begin their interactions from the perspective of “what’s happened to you?”, not “what’s wrong with you?”. SRO’s needed to be trauma-informed.
The leaders and participants of Trauma-informed Community Networks across the state agreed with students based on what they saw in their communities and raised the issue of requiring more appropriate training for School Resource Officers. The more than 40 organizations signing on to the Unified Policy Agenda for the Campaign for a Trauma-Informed Virginia all agreed that this initiative was a priority.
Now your support is needed to encourage our Delegates and Senators to vote in support of required training for School Resource Officers.
Bill Update as of 1/31/19
Support SB1130 (Locke). This is the only bill related to SROs that requires training for the safety officers in child-specific topics. As of 1.31.19 it had passed the Education and Health Committee and was referred to the Senate Fiance Committee.
While Delegate Bourne’s died in a House Courts of Justice subcommittee, a similar bill, HB2609 (Jay Jones) requiring training for School Resource Officers, although not specifying what topics the training would cover, passed the House Education committee and is under consideration of the full House of Delegates.
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