Public Comments for: HB4 - School principals; incident reports, written threats against school personnel, etc.
Last Name: Watkins Locality: Reston

To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB 1034. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. I have worked in two different public school systems in Virginia over 13 years, and I have seen first hand how beneficial counseling services can be to a wide variety of students. If parents are allowed to prohibit their students from accessing counseling services in the school, these students may be cut off from not only critical mental health support, but but also the academic, career, and community support that school counselors and mental health team members provide. All members of a school mental health team must undergo rigorous education before obtaining their licenses, and as such they should be trusted as the professionals they are to provide only services that they deem necessary for students well-being. I strongly urge you to let the trained mental health professionals do their jobs. Don't make students get tied in the mire of adult squibbles. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen

Last Name: Watkins Locality: Reston

To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB HB1032. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. As VA Senator Peterson said on January 27 of this year, regarding a similar bill, "I don't think we should be involved in micromanaging school libraries...The problem is that you’re going to sweep up books that you don’t intend to sweep up" (Matthew Barakat, abcnews.go.com). I strongly urge you to leave the books in the libraries for the kids. They deserve to have the opportunity to decide with their own parents and personal support systems what books to read. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen

Last Name: Hegel Locality: Chesterfield

As a public school teacher, I urge you to support this bill. For too long, schools have done everything they could to make discipline records go away because the district does not want to see them. It is an open secret in the education field that school administrators in non-white, low-income schools are overwhelmed by student discipline issues and have their hands tied by the districts. This is while school administrators in white, affluent schools can still suspend students for minor infractions because parents who spent a lot of money buying into certain school districts will not tolerate foolishness. Anyone who still makes the "school-to-prison" pipeline argument has either not set foot in a hard-to-staff school, or is not being honest with him/herself. As far as I am concerned, most of the solutions to this problem are effectively turning schools into prisons. It really speaks volumes when students who want to learn are complaining that disruptive students do not receive any consequences.

Last Name: Decker Locality: Hanover

I encourage your support of this bill.

Last Name: Choate Locality: Henrico

Please oppose HB4. There is already a well documented school to prison pipeline. The educational setting offers the opportunity for counseling, remediation and restorative justice. Educators should continue to have the purview to address behaviors encountered in schools in these ways before committing students to legal processes for misdemeanor offenses. Please support HB128. At a time when we desperately need more educators, particularly from diverse backgrounds who can connect with a wide variety of demographics, the establishment of this scholarship program just makes good sense! Please support HB236. At a time when public education is under assault and educators are leaving the profession at an increasing rate, this flexibility to offer educators an extension of the time needed to complete recertification just makes good sense! Please support HB246 Please support HB294. Students who have suffered the types of events specified in this bill have legitimate concerns remaining in the environment where this occurred and should be able to secure assistance in attending another school in their district that provides a more secure environment. Please oppose HB363. While I support the concept of establishing an alternative method of using merit and performance to determine which employees may be retained and which dismissed when such events as RIF occur, I do not think it wise to prohibit the current practice until a suitable alternative has been determined. Please oppose HB433. Historically, the legislature legislating on the specifics of educational delivery and practice have resulted in more complication and obstacles. The specifics of curricula and testing should be left to those involved in the delivery of education. Please support HB485 Please support HB526. This is just the right thing to do for those who have come to reside in VA as a result of being the victim of human trafficking! Please support HB539. This is a minor and simple thing that institutions of higher ed can do to be fully trans parent to those individuals making application who have a criminal background!! Please support HB582. Today's college students need more assistance than ever in achieving a higher education, and making sure that they are aware of and have access to SNAP benefits that they may be entitled to is just a good idea!!

Last Name: Bentle Organization: Fairfax Education Assocation Locality: Fairfax, Herndon

Both I (a public school teacher in Fairfax County) and the Virginia Education Association oppose HB4. Please stop attempting to criminalize children for teachable offensives. All this bill will do is worsen the school-to-prison pipeline, and it will most likely disproportionately target students of color as well as those from low-income backgrounds.

Last Name: BUSKARD Locality: ALEXANDRIA

HB127 - The reforms to the admissions policies at TJ increase the equity of the process. These reforms should be kept in place for this reason. This bill would adversely influence equity at many schools, not just TJ. HB4 - In all cases in which disciplinary measures can be taken by the school personnel, I believe they should be handled by school personnel, including teachers, guidance counselors, and psychologists. These are our children. They are not criminals. The role of police in schools should be as minimal as possible. HB781 - Children should be taught the facts of history, including the history of the US, as accurately as possible, whether it shows that history in a favorable or unfavorable light. One of the most important thing of all that we can teach our children is to always seek the truth. HB9 - This bill would limit our ability to recruit and retain teachers exactly when there is an increasing need to do so. There is very little difference in what one can ascertain about someone's performance between 3 and 5 years. It would make more sense to provide regular status reviews throughout a teacher's entire tenure which are tied to salary and other benefits.

Last Name: Bensinger-Lacy Locality: Burke

HB127. I oppose rolling back the current admission policies for TJ and potentially other governor’s schools because we must be allowed to find ways to give opportunities available only in those schools to Black, Hispanic and lower SES students. They may need extra support to be successful but that’s a solid investment for our society. HB4. This bill moves our treatment of students in the absolute wrong direction. We must be finding ways NOT to involve young people in the criminal justice system for actions that should be handled within the school. HB781. All students MUST know ALL of history from all stakeholders’ points of view, especially US history—much of which chronicles situations that were divisive. We cannot learn from history if we don’t know what happened.

Last Name: Andrews Locality: Barboursville

I ask that you categorically oppose HB113 as it Violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution. It establishes a government preference for some religions over others or none. Our public schools exist to educate ALL students and that means students of all religions and no religion. Please oppose or amend HB344. While extending the agency of instituting charter schools to the state at large MAY be a desirable outcome (I remain unconvinced on this but openminded), the ability of local citizens to appeal the decision of the Board should not be removed. Citizens deserve the opportunity to revisit the determination of the Board and to additional information to strengthen their case for or against. Please oppose HB37. Local school boards should retain the decision power re the necessity of SROs. In general I am against the eroding of local control of schools. And in this specific case locations do exist where the presence of LEO’s in the educational setting will be more disrupting than helpful. I ask that you categorically oppose HB4. Schools should absolutely retain the right to determine when misdemeanors committed while in school should be reported to law enforcement. Crimes rising above the misdemeanor level should be required reporting. Please oppose HB8 Schools need fewer guns not more in them.

Last Name: Choate Locality: Henrico

Please oppose HB113. Our public schools exist to educate ALL students and that means students of all religions and no religion. Students should not begin or end their day feeling marginalized by the institution that exists to serve them all. Please oppose or amend HB344. While extending the agency of instituting charter schools to the state at large may be a desirable outcome, the opportunity to appeal the decision of the Board should not be removed. Citizens deserve the opportunity to revisit the determination of the Board and to present a strengthened case. Please oppose HB37. Local school boards should retain the purview to determine if school resource officers are installed in their school based on their citizenry, cultural norms, and level of disruption in the school environment. Many environments exist where the presence of law enforcement in the educational setting will be more disrupting than helpful. Please oppose HB4. Schools should retain the purview to determine when misdemeanors committed while in school should be reported to law enforcement. Crimes are committed in many settings that do not result in the involvement of law enforcement. Staff and teachers who are attempting to build relationships of trust and nurturing with students should not be mandated into law enforcement referrals in instances where pursuing such discipline responses as restorative practices could result in positive and meaningful growth without funneling students into an already robust school to prison pipeline.

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