Virginia School Climate Policy

There are 227 school districts in Virginia that serve 2,182 public schools. During the 2020-2021 school year, there were 1,252,756 students enrolled in public schools. Approximately 45% of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. There is a school climate survey policy in Virginia where the survey is used to ensure that students and staff have a positive environment remotely or in person. Other policies that address school climate include anti-bullying, suicide prevention, emergency response plans, preventative crime programs, character education programs, positive behavior interventions, special education accommodation, religious viewpoint expression, parental involvement, digital citizenship, and media literacy. There is a policy regarding culturally relevant and inclusive education practices where there is a committee that aids in the practice of both of those things. 

School Climate and Working Conditions Survey.

A tool for division leaders and principals to monitor and ensure all students and staff have access to a healthy and positive environment in which to learn, work, interact and grow, whether remotely or in person.

https://www.doe.virginia.gov/support/school-climate/index.shtml


Who does this protect? Administrators, staff

Does this policy include ways for families to be involved? No

Code of Virginia § 22.1-276.01. Definitions.

Provide definitions of the terms bullying, harassment, and cyberbullying and behaviors that are associated with these actions.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-14/section-22-1-276-01/

 Virginia asks schools to develop and implement procedures to prevent bullying and harassment behavior and the consequences of such behavior. Policies also explain that procedures are needed for reporting an incidence of bullying and investigating it.

  • Code of Virginia § 22.1-279.6. Board of Education guidelines and model policies for codes of student conduct; school board regulations.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-14/section-22-1-279-6/

  • Code of Virginia § 22.1-291.4. Bullying and abusive work environments are prohibited.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-15/section-22-1-291-4/


Who does this protect? Students, Teachers

Does this policy include ways for families to be involved? Yes

Virginia schools need to develop plans for dealing with emergencies.

  • Code of Virginia § 22.1-279.8. School safety audits and school crisis, emergency management, and medical emergency response plans are required.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-14/section-22-1-279-8/index.html

  • Code of Virginia § 22.1-137.3. School safety procedures; emergencies; annual training.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-9/section-22-1-137-3/index.html

  • Code of Virginia§ 22.1-279.9. Development of programs to prevent crime and violence.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-14/section-22-1-279-9/

  • Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-131-260. School Facilities and Safety.

https://regulations.justia.com/states/virginia/title-8/agency-20/chapter-131/part-vi/8vac20-131-260/

Code of Virginia § 22.1-279.10. School resource officers; data.

Annually collect, report, and publish on its website data on the use of force against students, including the use of chemical, mechanical, or other restraints and instances of seclusion; detentions of students; arrests of students; student referrals to a court or court service units; and other disciplinary actions by school resource officers involving students.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-14/section-22-1-279-10/

Virginia has drills for when there is a fire, tornado, and the need for a lockdown.

  • Code of Virginia § 22.1-137. Fire drills.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-9/section-22-1-137/index.html

  • Code of Virginia § 22.1-137.1. Tornado drills.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-9/section-22-1-137-1/index.html

  • Code of Virginia § 22.1-137.2. Lock-down drills.

Local school boards and private or religious schools may employ school security officers and they may carry firearms on school property if they were previously law-enforcement officers or were employed by a law enforcement agency. Other than that, no one is allowed to possess or carry firearms or weapons on school property.

  • Code of Virginia § 22.1-280.2:1. Employment of school security officers. 
  • Code of Virginia § 22.1-280.2:4. School boards; firearms on school property. 

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-14/section-22-1-280-2-4/index.html


Who does this protect? Students, Staff

Does this policy include ways for families to be involved? No

Code of Virginia § 22.1-208.01. Character education is required.

This is a separate program created by each school board to instill in students civic virtues and personal character traits to improve the learning environment, promote student achievement, reduce disciplinary problems, and develop civic-minded students of high character.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-13/section-22-1-208-01/index.html

Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-671-660. Managing Student Behavior in Emergency Situations.

Each school shall have written policies and procedures made available annually to students, parents, and placing agencies that deal with, for example, preventing student violence, self-injurious behavior, and suicide, including de-escalation of potentially dangerous behavior occurring among groups of students or with an individual student.

https://regulations.justia.com/states/virginia/title-8/agency-20/chapter-671/8vac20-671-660/

 Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-671-630 – Behavior intervention. Each school shall develop and implement written policies and procedures that emphasize positive behavior interventions. 

https://regulations.justia.com/states/virginia/title-8/agency-20/chapter-671/8vac20-671-630/

Code of Virginia § 22.1-272.1. Responsibility to contact the parent of a student at imminent risk of suicide; notice to be given to social services if parental abuse or neglect; Board of Education, in cooperation with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and the Department of Health, to develop guidelines for parental contact.

If employees believe students are at risk of suicide, they will contact the parents of that student, and guidelines for contact with the student’s parents will need to be followed.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-14/section-22-1-272-1/


Who does this protect? Students, Staff

Does this policy include ways for families to be involved? Yes

Virginia provides students with disabilities the accommodations and resources they need to have an appropriate education.

  • Code of Virginia § 22.1 Chapter 13 – Programs, Courses of Instruction and Textbooks.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-13/

  • The policies on special education start from § 22.1-213 to § 22.1-221 
  • Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-81 REGULATIONS GOVERNING SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES IN VIRGINIA.

https://regulations.justia.com/states/virginia/title-8/agency-20/chapter-81/


Who does this protect? Students, students with disabilities

Does this policy include ways for families to be involved? Yes

Code of Virginia § 22.1-279.9. Development of programs to prevent crime and violence.

School boards are encouraged to develop and use a network of volunteer services in implementing these prevention activities.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-14/section-22-1-279-9/

Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-131-51 – Requirements for graduation.

The student will have had to complete 50 hours of voluntary participation in community service or extracurricular activities among other requirements.

https://regulations.justia.com/states/virginia/title-8/agency-20/chapter-131/part-iii/8vac20-131-51/


Who does this protect? Students

Does this policy include ways for families to be involved? No

Code of Virginia § 22.1-208.02. Culturally Relevant and Inclusive Education Practices Advisory Committee.

  • Purpose of the committee is to strengthen culturally relevant education practices and support anti-bias education and response in the Commonwealth.
  • Committee will make recommendations to the history and social science curriculum, in terms of what should be covered.
  • Committee shall provide recommendations for the issuance of Board of Education guidelines for local school division staff, including teachers and school counselors, to offer age-appropriate anti-bias education to students.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-13/section-22-1-208-02/index.html

 Code of Virginia § 22.1-203.3. Religious viewpoint expression; student expression.

Students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-13/section-22-1-203-3/


Who does this protect? Students,

Does this policy include ways for families to be involved? Yes

Code of Virginia § 22.1-291.4. Bullying and abusive work environments are prohibited.

Policies and procedures to educate school board employees about bullying.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-15/section-22-1-291-4/

Virginia Administrative Code 6VAC20-240-20. Initial Certification and Training Requirements for School Security Officers.

The compulsory minimum training shall include topics like;

  • Mediation and conflict resolution.
  • Student behavioral dynamics.

https://regulations.justia.com/states/virginia/title-6/agency-20/chapter-240/6vac20-240-20/

Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-23-130. Professional Studies Requirements for Early/Primary Education, Elementary Education, and Middle Education Endorsements.

This training covers topics like;

  • The interaction of children with individual differences.
  • Instructional practices that are sensitive to culturally and linguistically diverse learners, including English learners, gifted and talented students, and students with disabilities, and appropriate for the PreK-3 or PreK-6 endorsement shall be included.
  • Diverse approaches based upon culturally responsive behavioral, cognitive, affective, social, and ecological theory and practice.
  • Understanding of the principles of online learning and online instructional strategies and the application of skills to deliver online instruction shall be included.
  • Professional development on family engagement

Who does this protect? Staff, Students

Does this policy include ways for families to be involved? No

Code of Virginia § 22.1-208.01. Character education is required.

This is a separate program created by each school board to instill in students civic virtues and personal character traits to improve the learning environment, promote student achievement, reduce disciplinary problems, and develop civic-minded students of high character.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-13/section-22-1-208-01/index.html

 Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-671-660. Managing Student Behavior in Emergency Situations.

Each school shall have written policies and procedures made available annually to students, parents, and placing agencies that deal with, for example, preventing student violence, self-injurious behavior, and suicide, including de-escalation of potentially dangerous behavior occurring among groups of students or with an individual student.

https://regulations.justia.com/states/virginia/title-8/agency-20/chapter-671/8vac20-671-660/

 Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-671-630 – Behavior intervention. Each school shall develop and implement written policies and procedures that emphasize positive behavior interventions.

https://regulations.justia.com/states/virginia/title-8/agency-20/chapter-671/8vac20-671-630/

Code of Virginia § 22.1-272.1. Responsibility to contact the parent of a student at imminent risk of suicide; notice to be given to social services if parental abuse or neglect; Board of Education, in cooperation with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and the Department of Health, to develop guidelines for parental contact.

If employees believe students are at risk of suicide, they will contact the parents of that student, and guidelines for contact with the student’s parents will need to be followed.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-14/section-22-1-272-1/


Who does this protect? Students

Does this policy include ways for families to be involved? Yes

Code of Virginia § 22.1-279.3. Parental responsibility and involvement requirements.

A school board shall provide opportunities for parental and community involvement in every school in the school division.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-14/section-22-1-279-3/index.html

Virginia Administrative Code 8 VAC20-131-270. School and Community Communications.

Each school shall involve parents, citizens, community agencies, and representatives from business and industry in developing, disseminating, and explaining the biennial school plan; on advisory committees; in curriculum studies; and in evaluating the educational program.

https://regulations.justia.com/states/virginia/title-8/agency-20/chapter-131/part-vii/8vac20-131-270/

Code of Virginia § 22.1-253.13:6. Standard 6. Planning and public involvement.

School plans need to include a plan for parent and family involvement to include building successful school and parent partnerships that shall be developed with staff and community involvement, including participation by parents.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-13-2/section-22-1-253-13-6/index.html

Code of Virginia § 22.1-253.13:7. Standard 7. School board policies.

Each local school board shall ensure that policies are developed considering the views of teachers, parents, and other concerned citizens and addressing things like;

  • School-community communications and community involvement
  • Guidelines to encourage parents to provide instructional assistance to their children in the home, which may include voluntary training for the parents of children in grades K through three.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-13-2/section-22-1-253-13-7/index.html


Who does this protect? Students, Parents

Does this policy include ways for families to be involved? Yes

Virginia schools need to develop plans for dealing with emergencies.

  • Code of Virginia § 22.1-279.8. School safety audits and school crisis, emergency management, and medical emergency response plans are required.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-14/section-22-1-279-8/index.html

  • Code of Virginia § 22.1-137.3. School safety procedures; emergencies; annual training.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-9/section-22-1-137-3/index.html

  • Code of Virginia§ 22.1-279.9. Development of programs to prevent crime and violence.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-14/section-22-1-279-9/

  • Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-131-260. School Facilities and Safety.

https://regulations.justia.com/states/virginia/title-8/agency-20/chapter-131/part-vi/8vac20-131-260/ Code of Virginia § 22.1-279.10. School resource officers; data.

Annually collect, report, and publish on its website data on the use of force against students, including the use of chemical, mechanical, or other restraints and instances of seclusion; detentions of students; arrests of students; student referrals to a court or court service units; and other disciplinary actions by school resource officers involving students.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-14/section-22-1-279-10/

 Virginia has drills for when there is a fire, tornado, and the need for a lockdown.

  • Code of Virginia § 22.1-137. Fire drills.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-9/section-22-1-137/index.html

  • Code of Virginia § 22.1-137.1. Tornado drills.

https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2020/title-22-1/chapter-9/section-22-1-137-1/index.html

  • Code of Virginia § 22.1-137.2. Lock-down drills.

Who does this protect? Students, staff

Does this policy include ways for families to be involved? Yes

There is no current policy surrounding Social Inclusion in the state of Virginia. For more information on school climate please visit us at Services – National School

HB 1978 Digital Citizenship, Internet Safety, and Media Literacy Advisory Council; established.

This council, which is made up of a teacher, librarian, representative of a parent-teacher organization, school administrator, and individual with expertise in digital citizenship, Internet safety, media literacy, etc. develops resources and model policy for local school boards in the Commonwealth that would enable such school boards to better support the digital citizenship, Internet safety, and media literacy of all students and teachers in the local school division.

https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?191+ful+HB1978


Who does this protect? Students

Does this policy include ways for families to be involved? Yes

There is currently no policy surrounding Leadership in Virginia. For more information on school climate please visit us at Services – National School

There is currently no policy surrounding Professional Relationships in Virginia. For more information on school climate please visit us at Services – National School

Sources include: nasbe.org and childtrends.org