State law authorizes the placement of local law enforcement or security personnel and establishes clear guidelines and safeguards regarding the appropriate role of officers on school campuses.
Code of Virginia § 22.1-280.2:1. Employment of school security officers
Local school boards and private or religious schools may employ school security officers, as defined in § 9.1-101, for the purposes set forth therein. Such school security officer may carry a firearm in the performance of his duties if
- (i) within 10 years immediately prior to being hired by the local school board or private or religious school he
- (a) was an active law-enforcement officer as defined in § 9.1-101 in the Commonwealth or
- (b) was employed by a law-enforcement agency of the United States or any state or political subdivision thereof and his duties were substantially similar to those of a law-enforcement officer as defined in § 9.1-101;
- (ii) he retired or resigned from his position as a law-enforcement officer in good standing;
- (iii) he meets the training and qualifications described in subsection C of § 18.2-308.016;
- (iv) he has provided proof of completion of a training course that includes training in active shooter emergency response, emergency evacuation procedure, and threat assessment to the Department of Criminal Justice Services pursuant to subdivision 42 of § 9.1-102, provided that if he received such training from a local law-enforcement agency he received the training in the locality in which he is employed;
- (v) the local school board or private or religious school solicits input from the chief law-enforcement officer of the locality regarding the qualifications of the school security officer and receives verification from such chief law-enforcement officer that the school security officer is not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing, purchasing, or transporting a firearm; and
- (vi) the local school board or private or religious school grants him the authority to carry a firearm in the performance of his duties.
Code of Virginia § 22.1-280.2:3. School boards; local law-enforcement agencies; memorandums of understanding
The school board in each school division in which the local law-enforcement agency employs school resource officers, as defined in Section 9.1-101, shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with such local law-enforcement agency that sets forth the powers and duties of such school resource officers. The provisions of such memorandum of understanding shall be based on the model memorandum of understanding developed by the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety pursuant to subdivision A 12 of Section 9.1-184, which may be modified by the parties in accordance with their particular needs. Each such school board and local law-enforcement agency shall review and amend or affirm such memorandum at least once every five years or at any time upon the request of either party.
Code of Virginia § 9.1-101. Definitions
"School resource officer" means a certified law-enforcement officer hired by the local law-enforcement agency to provide law-enforcement and security services to Virginia public elementary and secondary schools.
"School security officer" means an individual who is employed by the local school board or a private or religious school for the singular purpose of maintaining order and discipline, preventing crime, investigating violations of the policies of the school board or the private or religious school, and detaining students violating the law or the policies of the school board or the private or religious school on school property, school buses, or at school-sponsored events and who is responsible solely for ensuring the safety, security, and welfare of all students, faculty, staff, and visitors in the assigned school.
Code of Virginia § 9.1-110. School Resource Officer Grants Program and Fund.
A. From the funds appropriated for such purpose and from the gifts, donations, grants, bequests, and other funds received on its behalf, there is established (i) the School Resource Officer Grants Program, to be administered by the Board, in consultation with the Board of Education, and (ii) a special nonreverting fund within the state treasury known as the School Resource Officer Incentive Grants Fund, hereinafter known as the "Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller, and any moneys remaining in the Fund at the end of the biennium shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Interest earned on such funds shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it.
Subject to the authority of the Board to provide for its disbursement, the Fund shall be disbursed to award matching grants to local law-enforcement agencies and local school boards that have established a collaborative agreement to employ uniformed school resource officers, as defined in § 9.1-101, in middle and high schools within the relevant school division. The Board may disburse annually up to five percent of the Fund for the training of the school resource officers. School resource officers shall be certified law-enforcement officers and shall be employed to help ensure safety and prevent truancy and violence in schools.
B. The Board shall establish criteria for making grants from the Fund, including procedures for determining the amount of a grant and the required local match. Any grant of general funds shall be matched by the locality on the basis of the composite index of local ability to pay. The Board may adopt guidelines governing the Program and the employment and duties of the school resource officers as it deems necessary and appropriate.
Code of Virginia § 9.1-184. Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety created; duties
A. From such funds as may be appropriated, the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety (the Center) is hereby established within the Department. The Center shall:
- Develop a model memorandum of understanding setting forth the respective roles and responsibilities of local school boards and local law-enforcement agencies regarding the use of school resource officers. Such model memorandum of understanding may be used by local school boards and local law-enforcement agencies to satisfy the requirements of Section 22.1-280.2:3.
Model Guidance for Positive and Preventive Code of Student Conduct Policy
This document addresses authorization of school resource officers