PSEA: Amended gun legislation still puts students and staff at risk

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PSEA: Amended gun legislation still puts students and staff at risk

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HARRISBURG (June 28, 2017) – An amended version of a bill headed for a vote in Pennsylvania’s state Senate still does not make our schools or students safer, Pennsylvania State Education Association President Jerry Oleksiak said today.

Oleksiak re-emphasized PSEA’s opposition to Senate Bill 383, which was amended on the Senate floor Tuesday and could be voted as early as today.

“Creating new training requirements and a new level of bureaucracy for school districts doesn’t change the simple fact that this bill would introduce more guns into schools,” Oleksiak said.

Oleksiak reiterated that PSEA is not opposed to the use of appropriately trained and armed school safety personnel in schools, such as school safety officers that some districts employ. “Our Association does oppose arming teachers, education support professionals, and other school staff whose primary responsibility should continue to be educating students, not policing school buildings and grounds with firearms,” Oleksiak said.

“Teachers, parents, students, and two joint state government task forces have studied the issue and reached the same conclusion – this measure is dangerous and could create delays for first responders which will cost lives. In fact, many of the teachers who survived the Sandy Hook shooting sent a letter to our senators expressing opposition to this bill,” Oleksiak said.

“PSEA will continue to support strategies to keep students safe. This bill endangers students, and we remain strongly opposed to it.”

Oleksiak is a special education teacher in the Upper Merion Area School District. An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents approximately 180,000 future, active and retired teachers and school employees, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.