by Kerry Dougherty
Just when you thought the new left-wing majority in Richmond couldn’t get any crazier, they do this: Abolish the requirement that school principals report to law enforcement any student who commits sexual battery.
Boneheaded. Dangerous, too.
If HB257 becomes law school administrators will no longer be required to call the cops when a student engages in stalking, assault and battery, threatens school personnel or threatens the school itself.
This soft-on-young-criminals approach has its roots in an Obama policy aimed at ending the so-called “school-to-prison pipeline” that supposedly begins when kids engaging in minor criminal acts at school are turned over to the police and embark on a life of crime.
Of course, many of us don’t consider sexual battery minor. Nor do we shrug off threats made against a school. (Assault and battery could include fighting. No need to involve law enforcement for every minor skirmish. If it escalates, however, if a kid is seriously hurt, authorities should be summoned.)
Apparently, the squishy liberals running the show in Richmond learned absolutely nothing from the slaughter at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida just two years ago.
According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, school officials in Broward County – who were also trying to end the school-to-prison-pipeline – had created a “culture of leniency.” It was that environment that many, including the experts that studied the mass shooting, believed may have contributed toward the tragedy.
“Broward Schools have grown so tolerant of misbehavior that students like Nikolas Cruz (the killer) are able to slide by for years without strict punishment for conduct that could be criminal,” the Sentinel reported at the time of the massacre. “The culture of leniency allows children to engage in an endless loop of violations and second chances, creating a system where kids who commit the same offense for the 10th time may be treated like it’s the first, according to records and interviews with people familiar with the process. “
Great. Virginia looks like it’s about to step out on the same slippery slope.
On his Facebook page Friday, House Minority Leader Del. Todd Gilbert, denounced what he called this “insane” change to the law that will “endanger our children.”
“House Democrats today adopted a policy that will make our students, teachers, and school personnel significantly less safe. Administrators should have some leeway over when to involve law enforcement in disciplinary problems — but instances of sexual battery, stalking, and threats and against teachers and staff are not ‘discipline problems.’ They are serious crimes with real problems that need to be investigated and prosecuted.”
On Saturday I interviewed Del. Jason Miyares of Virginia Beach who voted against the final version of this bill. He pointed out that the Democrats pushing this roll-back of Virginia law seemed concerned only about the students who misbehave in school.
“But what about the rest of the kids?” Miyares asked, “when they can’t learn because the person next to them is a holy terror? Don’t they have rights, too?“
Not any more. Not if Gov. Ralph Northam signs this bill.
Miyares said this was just the latest in a series of unfortunate changes awaiting the governor’s signature. It joins a bill that will give Virginia driver licenses to illegal immigrants and HB1462, a measure that passed the House and is before the Senate. This slice of madness will make it easier for a person charged with a violent offense – even one that carries the possibly of life in prison or the death penalty – to be freed on bail.
Lucky us, huh?
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