PSBA Legislative Priority Issue: Provide for Safe and Secure Schools

Incidents of threats and violent acts in schools across the nation have led to increased concern about the critical need to keep students and staff safe. School officials are intensifying their efforts to address emergency preparedness and response, potential threats, and student well-being. Schools have been – and must continue to be – safe and supportive environments 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.

Act 44 of 2018 implemented a flexible new grant program for school districts. 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 is a continued focus in the 2019-20 legislative session. Funding for the grant program was continued and additional legislation addressing safety measures was signed into law. Act 18 of 2019 makes various changes to Act 44 and sets new provisions. Act 67 of 2019 makes changes and clarifications regarding school security personnel. Act 91 of 2019 authorizes necessary fixes to provisions under Act 67 regarding school safety personnel.