Senate Moves to Improve School Safety Provide Districts More Resources, Options

Pennsylvania legislators consider school safety a critical issue and a top priority. Lawmakers have responded to this issue by passing legislation to ensure our schools are a safe place for children and staff. The goal is to give schools the resources they need to identify threats so we can prevent school violence before it starts. This webpage was created to keep you updated on legislation involving school safety, and will continue to be updated as there are more public hearings and legislation.

 

Comprehensive School Safety Bill Signed Into Law

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came together to pass a comprehensive, bipartisan school safety bill that will make new resources available to school districts throughout the state. The new law emphasizes local control. Each school district will have an opportunity to assess their unique needs and circumstances, allowing them to pursue safety options that are in the best interests of students.

Highlights of the new law include:

  • A new $60 million grant program that will give school districts flexible options to improve school safety, including hiring school security personnel and counselors, purchasing safety equipment like metal detectors, and implementing special programs to reduce violence in schools.
  • A school threat reporting and monitoring system that will allow students, teachers, school employees and members of the community to anonymously report any potentially unsafe situations for students.
  • School safety assessments and guidelines to help identify and address potential security issues.
  • Mandatory training on school safety and security for school employees.

More information is available here.

Public Hearings

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Public Roundtable on School Safety – Williamsport, PA

August 08, 2018
Senate Majority Policy Committee Public Roundtable School Safety | August 16, 2018 | 1:00 p.m. | Bush Campus Center | Williamsport, PA 17701     [Read More]

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Public Roundtable on School Safety – Lebanon, PA

August 07, 2018
Senate Majority Policy Committee | Public Roundtable, School Safety | August 8, 2018 | 10:00 a.m. | Cedar Crest High School | Lebanon, PA 17042 |     [Read More]

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Public Roundtable on School Safety – McMurray, PA

July 27, 2018
Senate Majority Policy Committee | August 6, 2018 | McMurray, PA     [Read More]

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Public Roundtable on School Safety – Hermitage, PA

July 27, 2018
Senate Majority Policy Committee | August 7, 2018 | Hermitage, PA     [Read More]

Senate Legislation

Act 44 of 2018 (SB 1142) (Browne/Martin) – establishing the Safe2Say anonymous school threat reporting system, which collects information concerning unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent or criminal activities in schools or the threat of such activities.

SB 383 (White) – giving school boards the option to allow certain school employees to carry firearms on school property to further enhance security measures. 

SB 1065 (McGarrigle) – redirecting funding of approximately $50 million to the Safe Schools Initiative.

SB 1078 (Tomlinson/Regan) – allowing for security and safety matters to be discussed in Executive Session.

SB 1103 (Greenleaf) – requiring schools to undergo annual safety assessment audits for purposes of the school’s safety plan.

SB 1165 (Martin) – requiring that a juvenile charged with making terroristic threats be detained until a mental health evaluation and home risk assessment are completed.

SB 1174 (Ward) – providing for a 90-day suspension of the driver’s license of anyone under 21 who makes a terroristic threat from anywhere against individuals or generally towards any school location.

SB 1175 (Ward) – allowing law enforcement and prosecutors the ability to use an administrative subpoena to obtain subscriber information for a social media account from which they are investigating a threat made against a school.

SB 1188 (Laughlin) – Allowing the use of tasers in providing for protection and defense of pupils.

SB 1211 (Regan) –  providing for the School Safety and Security Program. 

SB 1218 (McGarrigle) – providing for school safety and security training.

Armed School Security Officers (Regan, not introduced) – implementing a security presence consisting of at least one armed, trained school security officer in all publicly funded schools.

News Releases

Audio/Video

Superintendents, school officials to attend school safety roundtable discussion next week

August 09, 2018
Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) will host the Senate Majority Policy Committee, chaired by Senator David G. Argall (R-29), for a roundtable discussion on school safety efforts next week with local school superintendents and administrative staff. Listen   [Read More]

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Public Roundtable on School Safety – Williamsport, PA

August 08, 2018
Senate Majority Policy Committee Public Roundtable School Safety | August 16, 2018 | 1:00 p.m. | Bush Campus Center | Williamsport, PA 17701     [Read More]

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Senate Sends Comprehensive School Safety Measure to Governor’s Desk

June 22, 2018
The Senate approved a comprehensive, bipartisan school safety bill today that will dedicate significant new resources to help prevent school violence.     [Read More]

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School Safety

June 01, 2018
Senator Mike Regan joined Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) at a Capitol news conference to discuss state and federal school safety initiatives.     [Read More]

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Public Hearing – Subcommittee on Health and Human Services on School Safety – Mental Health Services

May 23, 2018
Senate Appropriations Committee - Subcommittee on Health and Human Services | May 23, 2018 at 1:30 PM | Hearing Room 1, North Office Building |     [Read More]

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Senators and Attorney General Urge Passage of School Threat Reporting System

May 22, 2018
Bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Pat Browne (R-16), Vincent J. Hughes (D-7) and Scott Martin (R-13) and supported by Attorney General Josh Shapiro creating a new school threat monitoring system in an effort to help reduce school violence is scheduled for a final vote in the Senate today (May 22nd).     [Read More]

Senators Propose Creation of School Threat Reporting System

April 24, 2018
Bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Pat Browne (R-16), Vincent J. Hughes (D-7) and Scott Martin (R-13) to help reduce school violence by creating a new school threat monitoring system unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee today (April 24). Listen   [Read More]

Senators Langerholc, McGarrigle Introduce Bill to Increase Mental Health Professionals in Schools

April 18, 2018
Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) and Senator Tom McGarrigle (R-26) announced legislation today to increase the ability of school districts to hire professionals to focus on the mental health needs of their students.   [Read More]

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Regan Briefs Senate Panel on Measures Needed To Enhance School Safety and Security in PA

March 02, 2018
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.     [Read More]

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Public Hearing On Ways to Improve Student and School Safety

February 28, 2018
Senate Education Committee - March 2, 2018 - North Office Building, Hearing Room 1     [Read More]

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Senate Approves Senator White’s School Safety Bill (VIDEO)

June 28, 2017
The Senate today (June 28) approved Senate Bill 383, legislation introduced by Senator Don White that would give school boards the option of allowing licensed and trained staff to carry firearms on school property.   Listen   [Read More]

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Committee holds hearing on Senator White’s school safety bill

September 16, 2014
The Senate Education Committee today (September 16) held a public hearing on Senate Bill 1193, legislation introduced by Senator Don White that would give school boards the option of allowing licensed and trained staff to carry firearms on school property.   [Read More]

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Senator White’s bill to improve school safety goes to Governor

July 01, 2014
Legislation drafted by Senator Don White that will give local school districts the option to contract for police service as a way to improve safety in classrooms and reduce response times in the event of an emergency received final legislative approval today (July 1) and now goes to Governor Corbett for his signature and enactment into law.   [Read More]

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Senate approves Senator White’s bill to improve school safety

April 30, 2014
The Senate today (April 30) unanimously approved a bill drafted by Senator Don White that would give local school districts the option to contract for police service as a way to improve safety in classrooms and reduce response times in the event of an emergency.   [Read More]

School Safety Agenda Unveiled

February 11, 2013
HARRISBURG - School superintendents, safety experts and state and local police officers will testify before two Senate committees about what it takes to keep students safe on school grounds.Listen   [Read More]

In the News

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