A new state legislative report states that Pennsylvania school officials should consider employing more safety measures, including scheduling more drills to prepare for intruders, creating local safety committees, and investing in “choke point” campus designs. Read the full article here!
Last year’s massacre at Sandy Hook School, which claimed twenty-seven lives, has prompted Pennsylvania’s 500 schools to reevaluate safety plans. The state House convened a special committee to study what schools are doing to address scenarios of this type and how they can improve safety procedures.
The House Select Committee for School Safety’s final report examines safety measures in public and nonpublic schools throughout the state, making recommendations to school officials, local law enforcement, and state lawmakers.
The report was compiled following input from school officials, state agencies, law enforcement, mental health experts, students, and parents following four public hearings.
One of its most important safety recommendations involves “defining and securing a single main point of entrance that is staffed with appropriately trained personnel,” states the report. While some schools lack the money to redesign buildings, most of them have procedures to screen visitors and monitor campus activity through security officers and surveillance cameras.
The report also suggested making monthly lockdown drills. State law currently requires schools to run fire drills once a month and disaster drills once a year. Many districts already perform disaster drills multiple times per year.
Other recommendations include: increased funding for student mental health programs. more cooperation between local law enforcement and schools to develop security measures and emergency response plans, and restricting firearm use to properly trained school police, resource, and security officers.