The Legal Aid Justice Center, which provides legal services for low income people across Virginia, is calling on the General Assembly to increase school safety.

In a letter to the General Assembly, the Legal Aid Justice Center, says the commonwealth can improve safety in schools by investing in positive discipline and hiring professionals like nurses or guidance counselors to monitor mental health.

According to the center, since 2009 the General Assembly has had a cap on how many trained support professionals can be hired in schools. It says that focusing on physical safety should be just as important as focusing on student mental health. 

Legal Aid Justice Center Attorney Rachel Deane says putting these changes in place will improve the overall wellbeing of students.

“We want to emphasize that actually increasing school support staff really does have a positive effect on the wellbeing of every student in the community and makes the whole community safer," she stated.

The letter also has recommendations for improvement in school policing by teaching new conflict resolution techniques. The center says increasing school support staff can not only improve school safety but also lead to improved academic outcomes for students.