Mullin's bills don't advance school safety

It’s bad enough when people don’t bother to study history and learn to avoid mistakes made of the past, but it’s shocking when our elected representatives fail to acquaint themselves with news of recent tragedies and avoid the circumstances that contributed to them.

Del. Mike Mullin, D.-Newport News, seems to be one of those representatives who doesn’t keep up with the news, or doesn’t learn from the news, or cannot remember terrible news which occurred less than a year ago. This is evident by two bills Del. Mullin prefiled (House Bill 1688 and House Bill 1771) for the upcoming legislative session.

These bills are eerily similar to the program known as PROMISE, which was adopted in Broward County, Fla., where 17 people were shot and killed at Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, by self-confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz.

The Youth PROMISE Act was originally introduced in Congress by Rep. Bobby Scott and received bipartisan support because it was supposed to prevent juvenile and gang crime in schools and end the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

In reality, these programs do not prevent juvenile offenses. They mask juvenile delinquent behavior and transgressions by preventing law enforcement from charging students with offenses while on school property.

It’s reported that Del. Mullin stated, “Teachers should have all possible options in terms of being able to discipline their students and keep their classrooms in a learning environment…” I don’t believe Del. Mullin is old enough to have been in school when teachers were allowed to discipline students. When young people are not disciplined by the school and civil authorities, their behavior does not change for the better, and may change for the worse because they are embolden by the lack of substantial consequences.

When disorderly behavior is not reported to authorities and authorities are not allowed to charge students with disorderly behavior on campus, it dilutes background checks on individuals when they go to purchase a gun, as was the case with Nikolas Cruz, an alumnus of the PROMISE program and murderer of 14 students and three school staff members.

Del. Mullin, do you not remember the news from Broward County on Feb. 14, 2018? Do not put Virginia students and school staff in the same danger. Please pull your bills from legislative consideration.

Thomas A. Patton Sr.

Williamsburg

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