Decriminalize Disorderly Conduct In Schools?

Should Virginia decriminalize disorderly conduct in schools?

Should a person who causes a disruption in our schools, including a disruption that could cause acts of violence, be considered guilty of disorderly conduct?

Seems reasonable to me.

At least one member of the General Assembly doesn’t agree.

Under current Virginia law, any person who engages is such behavior in public is guilty of disorderly conduct. The law specifies three areas considered public places:

  • In any street, highway, public building, public conveyance, or public place
  • At any funeral, memorial service, or meetings of government or school officials, or religious worship
  • During the operation of any school, or any activity conducted or sponsored by any school

Delegate Jeffery Bourne (D) has introduced legislation to remove schools from the list of public places, in effect decriminalizing disruptions in schools, even if those disruptions could cause acts of violence. House Bill 8 has been introduced for the upcoming General Assembly session.

I reached out to members of the Virginia Beach School Board, asking how this bill would affect our students and teachers. One member replied, “This is of great concern because these types of practices of not reporting crimes to law enforcement were in effect in Parkland, and many believe contributed to Nicholas Cruz becoming a mass shooter… No discipline enforcement creates chaos and greatly impacts school safety.”

I am researching the Parkland laws to compare with HB 8, and will be writing in more detail. As always, I take care to confirm information and share source documentation with my readers. I have also written to Delegate Bourne, asking him to explain the purpose for HB 8.

Why would the General Assembly consider removing legal consequences for causing disruption in our schools, even if the intent is to incite violence?

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2 thoughts on “Decriminalize Disorderly Conduct In Schools?”

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