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Weapon Offenses

What is considered a weapon?

The Code of Virginia § 18.2-308.1 lists numerous types of weapons that are prohibited on school property or at school-sponsored events.

  • stun guns;
  • knife with a blade of three or more inches;
  • pistol, revolver, or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind by action of an explosion of any combustible material;
  • dirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, machete, razor, slingshot, spring stick, metal knucks, or blackjack;
  • any flailing instrument consisting of two or more rigid parts connected in such a manner as to allow them to swing freely, which may be known as a nun chahka, nun chuck, nunchaku, shuriken, or fighting chain; and
  • any disc, of whatever configuration, having at least two points or pointed blades which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart.

Under what circumstances can a weapon be brought onto school property?

Code of Virginia § 18.2-308.1 specifically exempts the following:

  • persons who possess such weapon or weapons as a part of the school's curriculum or activities;
  • a person possessing a knife customarily used for food preparation or service and using it for such purpose;
  • persons who possess such weapon or weapons as a part of any program sponsored or facilitated by either the school or any organization authorized by the school to conduct its programs either on or off the school premises;
  • any law-enforcement officer;
  • any person who possesses a knife or blade which he uses customarily in his trade;
  • a person who possesses an unloaded firearm that is in a closed container, or a knife having a metal blade, in or upon a motor vehicle, or an unloaded shotgun or rifle in a firearms rack in or upon a motor vehicle; or
  • a person who has a valid concealed handgun permit and possesses a concealed handgun while in a motor vehicle in a parking lot, traffic circle, or other means of vehicular ingress or egress to the school.

What types of disciplinary action can be taken with a student who brings a weapon to school?

According to Code of Virginia § 22.1-277.07, school boards are required to expel students who bring a firearm or other destructive device onto school property or to a school-sponsored event in violation of the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994. A school administrator, pursuant to school board policy, or a school board may, however, determine, based on the facts of a particular situation that special circumstances exist and no disciplinary action or another disciplinary action or another term of expulsion is appropriate.

All of the following DCV offenses must be immediately reported to law enforcement.

Click each offense below to read the DCV Definition

WP1 — Weapon - firearm, handgun, pistol

WP2 — Weapon - firearm, shotgun/rifle

WP4 — Weapon - expels a projectile

WP5 — Weapon - knife

WP6 — Possession of Explosive Device

WP7 — Use of Bomb or Explosive Device

WP8 — Weapon - Other Firearms

WP9 — Weapon - other

WP0 — Possession of a BB Gun

VDOE Discipline, Crime and Violence Definitions

The Virginia Department of Education updates DCV Definitions annually.

For more information on reporting, visit VDOE's School Safety section.

Code of Virginia

The Virginia General Assembly has posted the entire Code of Virginia online for web searching. You can perform a search by using key word(s), phrases or section numbers. You can also use the Table of Contents to view all Titles, Chapters, and Sections.

To explore the searchable Code of Virginia, go to the Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System (LIS).