CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Three bills revolving around safety in and around schools across West Virginia have been signed into law by Governor Jim Justice.
On Monday, Justice signed Senate Bill 238, which increases certain penalties for illegally passing a stopped school bus. The bill will also require every board of education to install forward-facing cameras on all new school buses to help enforce the law.
Included in the bill is the rise in penalties for overtaking and passing a stopped school bus from a first offense fine of between $250-$500 to $500-$1,000. The second violation is now $1,000-$1,500 and the third violation is a fine of $2,000 and no less than 48 hours in jail.
A driver’s license can now be suspended for 60 days upon a first offense of passing a stopped school bus instead of 30 days. A second offense includes suspension of the license of 180 days, and a third offense is the suspension of license for one year.
Any serious bodily injury that results from passing a stopped school bus will result in a driver facing a felony charge and 1-3 years in a state correctional facility along with a fine of between $2,000-$5,000. A driver that passes a stopped school bus and the violation causes death will now be confined in a state correctional facility for 1-10 years on a felony charge and fined $5,000-$10,000.
SB 238 will go into effect on June 5, 2019.
Senate Bill 632, improving student safety was signed by Justice on Monday.
The bill requires video cameras in certain special needs classrooms where requested by a student’s parent or legal guardian, teacher or school official.
The signage of the bill comes on the heels of abuse allegations of a six-year-old non-verbal student with special needs in Berkeley County.
SB 632 will go into effect on July 1, 2019.
House Bill 2541, the School Access Safety Act will add to the West Virginia Code significant requirements for schools to help with schools and first responders respond to an intruder situation.
The bill will require room numbers to be placed on exterior walls or windows of the entire school building while requiring each county board of education to provide updated floor plans of the school to first responders every school year.
HB 2541 also will require first aid and an active shooter training each year for all school personnel and students.
The bill will go into effect on June 6, 2019.