Senator Mike Regan (R-31) testified before the Senate Education Committee during a public hearing on school safety, focusing his remarks on efforts to improve school building security through professional assessments, customized safety plans, extensive training, and reprioritized state funding.
To view Senator Regan’s full testimony, click here.
Regan, a former U.S. Marshal who was responsible for security planning and implementation at federal court houses, said school administrators and faculty must be trained and prepared to address an active shooter situation as part of a broader Comprehensive School Safety Plan.
As part of that effort, he stressed that schools should receive a professionally-conducted preliminary needs assessment to ensure that funding is being used with maximum efficiency.
He emphasized that school safety plans should tailored to the unique needs of each school. “Simply stated, “one-size-fits-all” plans do not work,” Regan said. “Customization is the name of the game.”
He added that confidentiality of school safety plans is crucial, citing a bill he is sponsoring with Senator Robert Tomlinson (R-6) which would require school security matters to be discussed in Executive Session.
Regan emphasized the importance of rigorous and recurring active shooter training to help school personnel function under extreme duress.
“People never rise to the occasion, they fall to the level of their training,” said Regan. “Robust training acclimates responders to stress.”
Finally Regan noted that efforts to improve school safety will cost money – an investment he says is critical to their success. He noted that last year approximately $8.53 million was dedicated to the Safe School Initiative line item. This figure represents less than 1/10th of 1 percent of General Fund spending in Education.
Regan said funding should be part of the overall effort to make schools safer and implement the improvements and training that can save lives in the event of a school shooting.
In the coming weeks, he intends to work with the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, education stakeholder groups, and security experts to develop new school safety standards which he hopes will “become a national model.”
Contact: Noah K. Karn 717-787-8524 / firstname.lastname@example.org