Rare Bipartisan Victory

During a General Assembly session, The Family Foundation takes a position on over 100 pieces of legislation.  We try to keep you informed on as many as we can, but often we will work on proposals that never get the attention they deserve.

Case in point is a bill that thankfully on Monday Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law.

The proposal, HB 1709, requires schools notify parents if their child is involved in an incident of alleged bullying within five school days.  Patroned by Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41, Springfield), the bill was amended during the process to give schools fourteen school days – or almost three full weeks – before having to involved parents.  Let’s face it, Amazon can deliver packages to third world countries faster than that!  We believe parents are the key to their children thriving and that parents should be informed, notified and included as soon as possible when their children are suffering from or being accused of bullying.  Three weeks is far too long.

And while the education establishment always claims it wants to involve parents, they allege it’s just too hard or too expensive to quickly pick up a phone and call a parent.  We disagree.

Virginia’s definition of bullying is such that it requires very serious, repeated acts.  Bullying is a serious problem, and parents should be involved as soon as possible if their child is a victim.  And, if their child is suspected of bullying, they should know they are being investigated by the school.

The bill ended up in a “conference committee” on the very last days of session, where a handful of negotiators from the House and Senate worked out the final five-day time period. We’re thankful to Delegate Filler-Corn for working with us on this important issue, and for those conferees for seeing the wisdom of involving parents.