School Board Moves to Ban Guns on All School Property, Review Gun Violence Prevention Curriculum
FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA — This morning, the Fairfax County School Board unanimously approved a proposal to develop a policy prohibiting firearms on property owned or leased by the school division and to review curriculum, safety protocols, and professional development related to gun violence and suicide prevention to ensure it aligns with current best practices. The proposal was sponsored by School Board members Laura Jane Cohen (Springfield District) and Karl Frisch (Providence District).
“We must ensure that, as a school system, we are doing all we can to protect our students and staff from the horrors of gun violence. We know that students are in homes containing firearms regularly, whether it is their own home or the homes they visit,” said Cohen. “It is critically important that we provide students with the tools they need in these situations and alert parents to their crucial role in keeping children safe. A comprehensive review of our curriculum, safety protocols, and professional development to make sure they align with best practices will help us achieve these important goals.”
“Late last year, Fairfax County Public Schools finally joined dozens of other school divisions with its commitment to educate parents about their legal responsibility to securely store firearms — one of the best tools we have to protect children from gun violence. However, our work to keep students, teachers, and staff safe is not yet complete,” said Frisch. “We must also take advantage of Virginia’s new law granting school boards the authority to extend firearm bans beyond school grounds to all of the other buildings owned or leased by the school system.”
While guns have been prohibited from school grounds for many years, the Virginia General Assembly passed a new law in 2021 granting school boards the authority to prohibit individuals from possessing firearms on property owned or leased by the school system where student education does not occur, excluding “certain individuals such as law-enforcement officers and qualified retired law-enforcement officers.”
Today’s vote continues the school board’s recent work to bolster gun violence prevention. In December, Superintendent Brabrand agreed to implement a proposal from Cohen and Frisch that requires the school division to notify parents and guardians annually about their legal obligations under Virginia’s new secure firearm storage law, why secure storage is essential, and other ways to prevent gun violence or seek help for a child who could be a threat to themselves or others.