Monday, January 15, 2024

West Virginia Senate Passes Bill to Employ Veterans, Retired Officers for School Security


In West Virginia, a new bill that has been approved by the state Senate, led by the Republican majority, proposes that local education boards could hire military veterans and retired law enforcement officers to bolster security in K-12 public schools.

Introduced by Republican Senator Eric Tarr of Putnam County, the bill was inspired by retired military officers concerned about the national frequency of school shootings. Senator Tarr, who heads the Senate Finance Committee, highlighted the need for trained individuals in schools who can swiftly respond to threats to protect children.

The bill received unanimous support in the Senate, including votes from all three Democratic members, with two Republicans absent.

The proposal will now be reviewed by the House of Delegates. A similar bill was passed by the Senate last year but did not progress in the House. The House committee had previously considered a different bill that would allow K-12 teachers and other school staff with concealed carry permits to be armed in schools, but it did not move forward.

This year's bill outlines specific criteria for contracting individuals. It would enable county education boards to hire honorably discharged veterans or former law enforcement officers, who would not function as school resource officers or have arresting powers.

Candidates for these positions would be required to possess a concealed carry permit, pass a drug screening, and have completed physical, vision, and psychiatric evaluations. Additionally, they would need to undergo training with the West Virginia State Police and complete a course in firearms and/or lethal force use.

The bill also includes provisions to prevent school boards from hiring individuals with convictions for domestic violence, DUI, child abuse, or other specified criminal offenses.

Each county board of education would have the discretion to contract with as many veterans or retired officers as needed. Republican Senator Laura Wakim Chapman of Ohio County expressed her support for the bill, emphasizing its importance in enhancing the safety of the state's public schools and ensuring the well-being of teachers, staff, and students.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmmm, think I'd take a hard pass on the retired cops.