Public Comments for: HB12 - Public school buildings; limits entry points, screening individuals.
Last Name: Francisco Organization: RCEA/VEA Locality: Roanoke

Please vote NO on HB12 . Where is the funding coming from for this? The Gen. Assem. cannot even provide the funding for classroom instruction and puts the burden on localities and now they want 'wanding' people at the doors of each school? So are ALL students supposed to use one entrance all day to limit traffic? Are ALL students going to be wanded every day? Are ALL staff going to be wanded every day? It's one thing to be concerned about safety but the localities have been overburdened with so many 'unfunded mandates'. Vote NO on HB12. and how about some more money for the classrooms!

Last Name: Corcelius Organization: FEA-VEA-NEA Locality: Fairfax

Greetings legislators, I am asking you to oppose HB12. While students and staff deserve to be safe in school, I am concerned about the expansion of the police state into our schools. I am also concerned about how the screening of individual students could be used in a discriminatory manner — particularly against Black, Latin American, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, Transgender, and Non-Binary students. In Virginia, African American youth are 6.5 times more likely than white youth to be incarcerated. There are around 400 youth imprisoned in our juvenile detention centers and as many as 20% identify as 2SLGBTQIA+. We must be concerned about how this could funnel more students in the school-to-prison pipeline. It is also a financial problem as it can cost $215K/year to imprison a child, but only $12K/year to educate a child through our public education systems here in Virginia. It also targets and effects poor and working class families as the commonwealth requires family to pay some of the cost of confinement. If we want to make our schools safer, we need to invest in CASEL/SEL initiatives that teach our students how to cope during this pandemic and beyond. We also need to fund more counselors, psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals in our schools. For more information regarding the statistics used in this public comment, please visit: Thank you for reading my comment and taking all of the above into consideration.

Last Name: Flinn Locality: Chesterfield

I oppose HB12. School is a place where children should feel safe and supported. It is a place where many find positive role models, hot meals, and a sense of inclusion. This bill, which purports to make schools more safe, in actuality, makes schools into police states where children, students, are treated as suspects and potential criminals. This is a terrible idea and should never pass.

Last Name: Yearout Organization: NEA/VEA Locality: Radford

When designing new bills that increase the standards for teachers, please remember that we are experiencing a National Teacher shortage and a National Staff shortage in our public schools. There was a shortage before the pandemic, and now the shortage is even worse. Sorry, but not many people want to work in public schools anymore. It is very unfortunate. So, as the old saying goes, begs cannot would make more sense to put the time and energy into trying to recruit more people to work in our public schools at all levels. Increasing the standards for teachers especially is really an oxymoron at at time when no one really wants to teach anymore.

Last Name: Wilcox Locality: Hardy

Please vote no to house bill 9 tomorrow.

Last Name: Horwath Locality: Danville

As a teacher in Virginia, I am sharing my thoughts on all three bills. To begin on a positive note, HB8 makes sense to me. School security officers are important, and I'm thrilled to see an opportunity for retired veterans to potentially serve in this very important role. My only concern with this bill is the section "any other duty assigned him by the local school board". I generally prefer local school divisions be granted as much flexibly as possible, but I wonder if this clause could be used by some school boards to force school security officers to take on other responsibilities not related to their core job. Just some food for thought. I have grace concerns about HB9. I've mentioned that I generally support flexibility for local school divisions, but this bill lacks any short of specific parameters for how this option to increase the probationary period for up to two years would be implemented. This is something that could be abused in many ways. What also makes no sense about this bill is that while that aforementioned flexibility to the probationary period is established, this bill then takes discretion away from school divisions by removing the option of a fact-finding panel for dismissals. I also don't understand the rationale for cutting the time period after written notice of such a hearing in half, besides leaving teachers at a disadvantage. This bill is logically inconsistent, with the only consistent factor across all aspects is that it comes across as anti-teacher. I'm not against high expectations for us teachers but considering the nation-wide crisis in morale (one recent Forbes article cited a study suggesting that up to 50% of teachers nation-wide are considering leaving the profession) I fear that this bill will make it even more difficult for school divisions across the commonwealth to retain and recruit educators. I urge each of you to vote down this misguided legislation. To end on a more positive note, I support most of HB12. It makes sense to limit public access points to schools (ideally to just one if possible). My only concern with this bill is that I'm not sure how feasible it would be for a school security officer to search every visitor using a handheld metal detector. I teach at a small school with one security officer who is stationed near the main entrance most of the day, but he does patrol the hallways during class transitions. This is less than 10 minutes, so we could ask visitors to wait, but then he also is posted in the cafeteria during all three lunches. Perhaps funding for additional school security officers could be attached. I'm not sure if it's required by state law or if funding is already provided, but I would also like to see all schools with a buzz in type system, so that no one can get into a school without being buzzed in. This also would be costly though, and state funding would likely be required for several school divisions. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my thoughts on these three bills.

Last Name: Thorne Organization: Richmond public schools Locality: Colonial Heights

To ask teachers to increase the probationary period is unconscionable. Teachers are already stressed out. Probationary periods remove protections. Also to remove the 3 member hearing or 10 to 5 day notices? Teachers deserve due process.

End of Comments