Gilbert named to newly formed school safety committee

Del. Todd Gilbert, R- Woodstock, has been appointed to the newly formed Select Committee on School Safety.

Gilbert was appointed by House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox, R- Colonial Heights, to the committee, which was formed to review state and local policy on school safety. Committee members will then write a report with recommendations to be considered by the General Assembly during the 2019 session.

Gilbert could not be reached for comment.

“There is nothing more important than the safety and security of our children,” Gilbert stated in a prepared statement from his office.

This is the first select committee formed in the House in 155 years. A select committee is formed for matters of considerable significance that cross the jurisdiction of conventional and established standing committees.

The committee has been tasked with working to strengthen emergency preparedness, hardening school security infrastructure, implementing security best practices, and deploying additional security personnel in the primary and secondary schools, all to prepare for any future shootings.  Committee members are also tasked with examining the possible provision of additional behavioral health resources for students and developing prevention protocols, according to a news release from Gilbert’s office.

The committee will not, however, be discussing issues related to guns or broader behavioral health policy that are being considered by other committees, nor will it consider  security at colleges or universities, which are governed by national accrediting agencies that set those security guidelines, according to the release.

“The House of Delegates led the effort in recent years to make our schools safer, but the tragedy in Parkland, Florida shows us that we must be ever vigilant when it comes to school safety. We are taking a bold and significant step to make school safety a top priority of the House of Delegates,” Cox wrote in a prepared statement. “Delegate Gilbert will bring a unique perspective to the Select Committee, and I look forward to the ideas he will contribute to the important work ahead of the committee.”