Grove’s School Safety Committee Announces Final Report
11/25/2013
HARRISBURG – Parents should never have to fear for their child’s life when they send them off to school for the day. However, far too often in our nation’s recent history tragedies have struck in and around school buildings. Preventing the loss of innocent lives was the goal of the House Select Committee for School Safety and Security, on which Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover) served. After months of hearings, debate, surveys and research, the committee has released its final report on school safety, including recommendations for how Pennsylvania’s students, teachers, staff, and school visitors can be as safe as possible.

“I was humbled to serve on this committee. The events just a few states away at Sandy Hook Elementary were always on our minds,” Grove said. “A statewide effort to secure our educational facilities is a challenge in a state as large and diverse as Pennsylvania, but I’m proud of the work we’ve done, and look forward to helping districts implement our recommendations.”

Recommendations include installing “panic buttons” in school main offices, designed to work the same way silent alarms work in banks. Also, suggestions include providing teachers and administrators with wireless pendants that can also alert emergency responders from anywhere, and installing ID scanners at visitor checkpoints that can immediately recognize a visitor’s Megan’s Law standing. The committee also calls for expanding measures already in place in most schools such as updating school camera and surveillance systems, secured entrance systems, identification badges for all students and staff, and electronic notification systems to inform parents as quickly as possible in the event of an emergency.

“The committee was impressed by many of the policies already in place across the state,” Grove added. “In some cases these practices by individual school districts inspired legislation we plan to pursue for the entire state.”

One such example is House Bill 896, which would place retired police officers in schools to screen all individuals who enter school buildings. Measures such as this, and others recommended, require additional funding to properly implement. For this reason the committee suggests the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) incentivize districts that commit to making their schools safer by reimbursing the districts through PlanCon, Pennsylvania’s school planning and construction reimbursement program.

The committee also gave extra attention to how mental health is treated in Pennsylvania schools, calling on districts to use school-wide initiatives such as student assistance programs, positive behavioral interventions and supports, and community safety committees, where parents, administrators, law enforcement and community professionals engage in ongoing discussions on school safety issues, policies and district well-being.

Pennsylvania is home to more than 500 school districts across 67 counties, and more than 3,000 school buildings.

To view the committee’s complete final report click here http://www.repgrove.com/Display/SiteFiles/103/OtherDocuments/SelectCommitteeSchoolSafetyFinalReport.pdf.pdf  

For more information on Grove’s legislative goals visit www.repgrove.com or www.Facebook.com/RepSethGrove.

Representative Seth Grove
196th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Mike Straub
717.260.6479
mstraub@pahousegop.com
RepGrove.com / Facebook.com/RepSethGrove
Share |