A Virginia bill would require police to notify schools of teacher arrests

State Sen. Scott Suravelle brought the bill to the General Assembly and received broad approval among lawmakers.

The Virginia Senate unanimously passed a Fairfax County bill requiring police to notify the school district if a school employee is arrested.

State Sen. Scott Suravelle, who represents eastern Fairfax County, won a resounding endorsement from his colleagues in Richmond for his legislation that would dictate how schools must be notified of employee arrests.

The legislation came after Chesterfield County police arrested Darren Thornton in November 2020 on charges of soliciting the prostitution of minors. However, he was able to remain a Fairfax County school counselor at Glasgow High School for 20 months after his arrest.

Emails from Chesterfield County Police informing Fairfax County Public Schools that a high school guidance counselor was arrested and charged with solicitation of a minor were sent to the wrong email addresses.

Suravel’s billnow going to the House of Delegates, requires police to notify schools within 48 hours of the arrest of anyone working at a school for a felony or Class 1 misdemeanor.

Suravelle said his bill is aimed at protecting children.

“I think we all wish there was no need for this kind of legislation, but we need to be sure that proper notification goes to the right person when certain convictions are made and when arrests are made. I thank my colleagues in the Senate for taking this important step in further protecting our student,” Suravel said in a statement.

WTOP’s Scott Gelman contributed to this report.

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