Delegate O’Quinn Named to Select Committee on School Safety


Delegate O’Quinn Named to Select Committee on School Safety

RICHMOND, Friday, March 9, 2018 – Delegate Israel O’Quinn (R-Fifth District) was appointed by Speaker Kirk Cox to serve on the newly-formed, bipartisan House Select Committee on School Safety. The committee was announced on Thursday, March 8, and Delegate O’Quinn is the only member of the committee from Southwest Virginia.

Speaker Cox specifically tasked the committee with reviewing and evaluating state and local policies with regard to school safety and bringing recommendations for legislative solutions to the General Assembly for its next session beginning in January of 2019.

This is the first select committee that has been formed in the House in 155 years. Primarily reserved for matters of considerable significance, select committees are an extremely rare but useful vehicle through which the House of Delegates can convene a working group to tackle issues of great importance that span across the jurisdiction of the House’s established standing committees.

“I am honored to represent Southwest Virginia on the Select Committee on School Safety. Since I was first elected to the House, I’ve been committed to advocating for and engaging with school administrators to create the best educational environment possible for our students,” Delegate O’Quinn said. “Taking steps to increase the safety of our schools is not only the right thing to do, but it’s essential to the health and wellness of our students and their ability to learn. I am grateful to Speaker Cox for appointing me to this committee and I look forward to working on these critically important and timely issues.”

The Select Committee will meet multiple times over the course of the next nine months in preparation for the 2019 legislative session. Speaker Kirk Cox will serve as Chairman of the Select Committee and has outlined the specific parameters of the group’s scope of work. “I look forward to the ideas and unique perspective Delegate O’Quinn will bring to the Select Committee,” Cox said. “We are taking a bold and significant step to make school safety a top priority of the House of Delegates.”

In creating the Select Committee, Cox specifically outlined the committee’s scope of work to include the following: strengthening emergency preparedness, hardening school security infrastructure, implementing security best practices, deploying additional security personnel, providing additional behavioral health resources for students, and developing prevention protocols at primary and secondary institutions across the Commonwealth. The committee will not discuss issues related to guns or broader behavioral health policy that are being considered by other commissions or standing committees. The committee also will not consider security at institutions of higher education, many of which already have rigorous security requirements and are governed by national accrediting agencies that set guidelines for their security.