Va. bill would require police to notify schools of educator arrest

The Virginia Senate unanimously passed a Fairfax County lawmaker’s legislation that would require police to notify a school district if a school employee is arrested.

State Sen. Scott Surovell, who represents eastern Fairfax County, got resounding approval from his colleagues in Richmond on his legislation to address how schools should be notified of employee arrests.

The legislation came after police in Chesterfield County arrested Darren Thornton in November 2020 on a charge of soliciting the prostitution of a minor. However, he was able to stay a Fairfax County schools counselor at Glasgow Middle School for 20 months after his arrest.



Emails from the Chesterfield County police aimed at informing Fairfax County Public Schools that a middle school counselor had been arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution from a minor were sent to faulty email addresses.

Surovell’s bill, which now goes to the house of delegates, would require police to notify schools within 48 hours of the arrest of anyone who works in a school for a felony or Class 1 misdemeanor.

Surovell said his bill is meant to protect children.

“I think we all wish legislation like this was not necessary, but we need to be sure that proper notification gets to the right person when certain convictions are handed down and when arrests are made. I thank my colleagues in the Senate for taking this important step towards further protecting our student,” Surovell said in a statement.

WTOP’s Scott Gelman contributed to this report.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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