Keeping Pennsylvania’s schools, students, and educators safe has always been a top priority for PSEA. And, with the passage of the school safety law last year, the state provided millions of dollars in safety grants to schools and established the Safe to Say Something program.
Now, PSEA is taking the next step, proposing new safety initiatives based on member recommendations that were included in the Association’s school safety report – “Safe Havens of Learning: PSEA policy recommendations to enhance safety in PA schools.”
“PSEA members know what needs to be done to make our schools safe,” said PSEA Vice President Korri Brown. “Our members are the true experts, and we want to make sure that we help make their ideas into state policy.”
This year, PSEA is proposing to enact school threat assessment legislation, a bill to increase the number of school nurses, counselors, psychologists, and social workers in school buildings, and Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal to provide $45 million in school safety grants to schools in the 2019-20 fiscal year.
The threat assessment proposal would require schools to develop programs to address safety threats before they start. And the school nurses, counselors, psychologists, and social workers bill would change the student-to-school-nurse ratio in current law to one for every 750 students and establish student-to-professional ratios for counselors, psychologists, and social workers. (See story on Page 8.)
More than 1,000 PSEA members made these and other recommendations last spring, after PSEA called on members to share their school safety ideas after the tragic shootings at a high school in Parkland, Florida. PSEA leaders took those recommendations, compiled them into a report, and shared it with Gov. Wolf and lawmakers. PSEA members also shared their perspective and expertise at regional meetings of the governor’s Pennsylvania School Safety Task Force. Increasing the number of health professionals in schools was one of the overarching themes heard by task force members.
“The most powerful resource we have is PSEA members themselves,” Brown said. “The ideas our members shared last year will continue to form the basis of our school safety initiatives, and they are the foundation for this agenda.”
Learn more at www.psea.org.schoolsafety.
PSEA’s 2019-20 School Safety Priorities
• Threat Assessments. Enact school threat assessment legislation to stop school safety threats before they start.
• School Nurses, Counselors, Social Workers, and Psychologists. Increase the number of school nurses, counselors, social workers, and psychologists in Pennsylvania schools.
• School Safety Grants. Pass Gov. Wolf’s proposed budget to direct $45 million in safety grants to schools in 2019-20.