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Date published: 2/8/2013
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
RICHMOND--Private schools and day cares could hire armed security guards under a bill from Del. Mark Cole, R-Spotsylvania.
The bill has already passed the House of Delegates and was advanced by the Senate Education and Health committee Thursday morning on a 13-2 vote.
Cole said that current state code doesn't allow private schools to have armed officers on their property.
"There's been a lot of talk of course about school security now," said Cole, who earlier this session also had a bill expanding the school resource officer program in public schools. "There is really nothing being done to help with private school security. Private schools ought to be able to set their own policy with security and guns in school."
No one spoke to oppose Cole's bill, although senators did tweak the language to clarify that allowing a school to hire a security guard did not mean that guard then had permission to be armed in other places.
Cole said the legislation allows private schools to hire security guards but doesn't require them to. If they do, that guard would have to be someone trained by the state Department of Criminal Justice Services.
Cole said the training required in his bill is essentially the same training as conservators of the peace undergo, which is less than regular police officers have.
Chelyen Davis: 804/343-2245