Governor turns to PSEA for school safety

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Governor turns to PSEA for school safety

If you want to address issues in schools, it stands to reason that you talk to people who work in schools.

That is exactly what Gov. Tom Wolf did in the aftermath of the shooting deaths of 17 students and staff in Parkland, Florida – the latest in a string of shootings that has reignited the debate about school safety.

Wolf approached PSEA for suggestions, and PSEA asked members to offer their views. Nearly 1,000 members responded, and their comments were the basis for recommendations presented by PSEA President Dolores McCracken before the state House Education Committee in March. Her testimony and PSEA’s school safety report can be viewed at

“Students and educators should be able to walk into their schools without the threat of violence hanging over their heads,’’ McCracken said. “But it is going to take action, and we applaud Gov. Wolf for taking the lead on this discussion in Pennsylvania, and for seeking the opinions of those who are closest to students.

“I’m deeply appreciative of our members for their thoughtful and passionate suggestions on steps to prevent these tragedies.’’

McCracken noted that addressing the physical safety of buildings was one of the most common suggestions from members. Other suggestions included more student support services and more personnel who provide these services.

She told lawmakers that the horrific shootings at Parkland, and previous ones in Sandy Hook in Connecticut in 2012 and in Columbine in Colorado in 1999 “aren’t going to stop on their own.’’

“I know it is challenging to find consensus to find the resources,’’ McCracken said. “Yes, making our schools safe will require investments. But think of the people of Florida, Connecticut, or Colorado having to look back with regret … Let us not look back with regret. Let us not wait for it to be our turn before we act when we could act now.’’