Senate Committee Advances Coleman Bill to Notify Parents when Weapons are Found at Schools

HARRISBURG – Parents deserve to know when a weapon is discovered at the school or school-sponsored event their child attends. That’s the sentiment behind a bill introduced by Sen. Jarrett Coleman (R-16) that was approved last week by the Senate Education Committee.

“Violence at schools is a sad reality and parents deserve to know when weapons are found at their child’s school,” Coleman said. “Openness and transparency in these situations can establish trust between parents and school administrators. Parents don’t want to learn weeks later from a third party about a weapon found at their child’s school.”

Coleman’s Senate Bill 971 would require schools and school entities to notify parents and guardians within 24 hours about an incident involving the possession of a weapon on school property.

The bill allows for targeted notifications when appropriate. If a weapon is found for example at a school dance or on the bus of a sports team, the alert may be sent to parents and guardians of students at the dance or on the team. The notification may be limited to parents and guardians of those students associated with the school building, school-sponsored activity or transportation where the incident with the weapon happened.

Coleman’s bill also would require the school to notify teachers, administrators and employees who work at or are associated with the school building, activity or travel where the weapon-related incident took place.

“In addition to parents and guardians, our teachers and other school employees should be made aware when a weapon is discovered where they work,” Coleman said. “The goal is to create a climate of trust so people know if something happens, they will hear about it and if they aren’t hearing anything, it’s because nothing happened.”

The bill would prohibit the notification to parents, guardians and school employees from containing personally identifiable information about the student who brought the weapon. The prohibition includes a commonsense exception for notification of the parents or guardians of the student found in possession of the weapon.

Coleman’s bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Residents who want to learn more about Coleman can visit his website at, follow him on Facebook at and sign up for email newsletters at

CONTACT: Leo Knepper

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