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Measures mandating sensitivity training for student-athletes in trouble

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A proposal by two local legislators to require the Virginia High School League to enforce penalties against what they perceive to be inappropriate speech – and to require students, parents, officials and coaches to receive and review instructional materials on the topic – appears likely to be dead in Richmond.

The measures aim to quell the use of “hate speech or ethnically and racially insensitive expressions” during both athletic and academic competitions sponsored by VHSL, according to the legislators.

But based on action in the House of Delegates, where a subcommittee on Feb. 2 killed Del. Alfonso Lopez’s (D-Arlington-Fairfax) version of the bill, it’s unlikely to make it through the General Assembly this session.
A subcommittee of the House Committee on Education voted 4-2, with two members not voting, to “lay the bill on the table,” one of a number of procedural motions used to kill a measure.


A companion bill patroned by state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria-Arlington-Fairfax) is moving through the committee process in the Senate, but unless some votes can be changed between now and the end of the session in March, likely would be killed in the House of Delegates even if it won passage in the upper house.

The bills are SB 285 (Ebbin) and HB 844 (Lopez). Ebbin also has requested a budget amendment to provide $50,000 to the Virginia Department of Education to assist in implementing the measure through the Virginia High School League.

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