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McDonnell names members of school safety task force

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Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Wednesday the 45 members of his Task Force of School and Campus Safety.

McDonnell created the task force in the wake of the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., where a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, in mid-December.

The task force is charged with reviewing school and campus safety in Virginia. The group is made up of educators, public safety experts, local leaders, mental health practitioners, legislators, parents and students. 

The task force will review current policies, emergency management plans, threat assessment protocols and identify resource challenges at Virginia’s schools and collegse. It also will provide legislative and budget proposals to McDonnell to address any gaps in safety at schools and universities.

The group will meet for the first time Jan. 14 in Richmond. Initial recommendations are due to McDonnell by Jan. 31, with a final report due June 30 so that new actions can be implemented by the next school year.

The members of the task force include:


Co-Chairs

Marla Decker, secretary of public safety

Laura Fornash, secretary of education

Dr. Bill Hazel, secretary of health and human Resources

Members

Ken Cuccinelli, Attorney General of Virginia

Joseph Yost, Virginia House of Delegates, R-Radford

Margaret B. Ransone, Virginia House of Delegates, R-Kinsale

Patrick Hope, Virginia House of Delegates, D-Arlington

Tom Garrett, Senate of Virginia, R-Hadensville

Richard Stuart, Senate of Virginia, R-Westmoreland

George Barker, Senate of Virginia, D-Alexandria

Patricia Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

Donna Michaelis, Director of the Virginia Center for School Safety

Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Superintendant of the Virginia Department of State Police

Garth Wheeler, Director of the Department of Criminal Justice Services

Mark Gooch, Director of the Department of Juvenile Justice

Michael Cline, State Coordinator of the Department of Emergency Management

James W. Stewart III,  Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services

Dr. Maureen Dempsey, acting State Health Commissioner

Peter Blake, Director of the State Council on Higher Education

Sarah Gross, PTA Legislative Liaison

Michelle Wescott, nurse, Rena B. Wright Primary School; PTA Health and Safety Chair

Vincent Darby, principal, G. H. Reid Elementary School, Richmond

Keith Perrigan, principal, Patrick Henry High School, Washington; president, Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals

Dr. Deborah Pettit, superintendent, Louisa County Schools

Dianne Smith, member of Chesterfield School Board; Retired Principal

Leonard Steward, Lexington City School Board

Regina Blackwell Brown, educational specialist for school counseling, Henrico County Public Schools

Meg Gruber, teacher, Forest Park High School, Prince William; VEA President

Judi M. Lynch, principal, Saint Gertrude High School

Dr. Sandy Ward, director of the School Psychology program, College of William & Mary

Dewey Cornell, professor of education, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia;
director, Virginia Youth Violence Project.

Charles J. Klink, assistant vice provost and vice president for student affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University

Sheriff Brian Hieatt, Tazewell County

Sheriff Mike Chapman, Loudoun County

Jim Williams, chief of police, City of Staunton

Chief Don Challis, chief of police, College of William and Mary

Joel Branscom, commonwealth’s attorney, Botetourt County

Chief Steve Cover, fire chief, City of Virginia Beach

Edward “Bubby” Bish, Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads

Captain Steve Carey, Stafford County Sheriff’s Department (former school resource officer)

Gene Deisinger, deputy chief and director of threat management, Virginia Tech

Charles Werner, Charlottesville Fire Chief (member of Secure Commonwealth Panel)

Allen Hill, father of Rachel Hill, victim of Virginia Tech Shooting

Alexa Rennie, student, James River High School

Jillian McGarrity, student, Lynchburg College    


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