PSBA Legislative Priority Issue: Provide for Safe and Secure Schools
The increasing succession of violent acts in schools across the nation have led to increased concern about the danger of school emergencies. School officials are intensifying their efforts and abilities to identify and prevent potential threats, and to respond to all threats swiftly and safely. It is the responsibility of school districts to ensure that all internal and external areas of schools are as safe as possible. Schools have been – and must continue to be – safe havens for our students where they may learn without fear of danger.
PSBA supports common sense efforts to help our schools in safety matters while emphasizing that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to providing safe school environments. School districts are vastly different throughout Pennsylvania in their security needs and, therefore, the best approaches to school safety must often be determined at the local school district level.
The state must prioritize the protection of students and school employees from acts of violence by providing schools with continued and long-term funding, assistance and flexible options that best meet the needs of their communities to provide safe and secure school environments. This includes the ability of schools to conduct threat assessments and crisis planning, provide improvements to school safety infrastructure, increase security personnel, and provide training, mental and behavioral health supports, and other measures designed to protect students and school employees.
School safety was a focus for the General Assembly during the 2017-18 legislative session. Act 44 of 2018 implemented a flexible new grant program for school districts under the 2018-19 state budget. The act also created a statewide School Safety and Security Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and established numerous other provisions addressing various topics related to school safety.
The issue of school safety and security will be a continued focus in the 2019-20 legislative session.