The Loudoun County School Board Unanimously Approved an Updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

 

The Loudoun County School Board (LCSB) unanimously approved an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) and the Leesburg Police Department (LPD) on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, intending to promote a positive relationship between students, staff and law enforcement in order to maintain safe, supportive and secure school environments. The MOU is meant to establish a mutually beneficial framework that facilitates effective, timely communication and coordination of efforts for LCPS and its law enforcement partners.

 

“'Keeping our schools safe is our highest responsibility,” stated LCSB Chair Ian Serotkin. “We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure our students, staff and families remain secure while also cooperating with our law enforcement partners as they protect our community.” The LCSO and LPD currently provide School Resource Officers (SRO) for every high school and middle school in the division. These officers also support LCPS elementary schools across the county.

 

The School Board maintains an MOU with local law enforcement, with the most recent version signed in 2021. Virginia law requires that an MOU be reviewed annually and updated at least once every two years. “Collaboration with our school partners has improved, and the new MOU demonstrates the critical importance of working together for a common purpose,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman. “LCSO will continue to enhance the resources we dedicate to school safety and SROs, who are among our most experienced and well-trained deputies,” he added.

 

Research has shown there are significant advantages to a strong partnership between schools and law enforcement. Things such as acting as a deterrent for student misbehavior and delinquent activity, availability for responding to emergencies and acting as role models make students, staff, and parents feel safer. “The Leesburg Police Department remains committed to the School Resource Officer program,” stated Leesburg Interim Chief of Police Vanessa Grigsby. “The safety and security of all students and faculty is of the utmost importance and we look forward to continuing to work with school administrators and our law enforcement partners in problem-solving and promoting a safe and secure learning environment.”

 

Possibly the most significant impact of this revision process isn’t the final document, but rather the mending and restoration of positive working relationships that foster open communication and trust, to meet a common goal of ensuring a safe and secure learning and working environment. Staff from all three organizations have applauded the efforts to make impactful changes, including:

  • Documentation and clarification on expectations between LCPS and law enforcement

  • Recognition of LCPS’ requirements under Title IX to address claims of sexual harassment and discrimination

  • Clarification of training in crisis intervention and trauma-informed techniques for SROs

 

The MOU will go into effect once it is signed by all parties. To learn more, visit the LCPS website.

Published on June 13, 2023