Legislature approves bill creating comprehensive safe schools program

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Legislature approves bill creating comprehensive safe schools program

Legislation establishing a comprehensive safe schools program is headed to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk.

Senate Bill 1142 provides school districts $60 million in school safety grants for a menu of security, training, prevention, and counseling programs. The additional resources will enable districts to make their schools safer and give them the flexibility to identify programs and practices that meet their specific, local needs.

The bill also establishes a “Safe2Say” program that will provide a safe and anonymous way for parents, school staff, students, and community members to report dangerous or criminal acts, threats, or instances of bullying, and make sure that law enforcement and school officials get timely information, so they can act on it.

“Early intervention is a very important part of preventing tragedies like the recent school shootings in Texas and Florida,” said PSEA President Dolores McCracken. “This is something that I have heard over and over from educators across the state, and I applaud legislators for making this a priority."

The Legislature approved Senate Bill 1142 in conjunction with passing a 2018-19 state budget and other related legislation. Read more about school funding in the budget and related education policy changes here.

Following the Parkland tragedy, PSEA called on members to share their thoughts about ways policymakers can make our schools safer. Nearly 1,000 educators shared their suggestions with PSEA.

From those suggestions, it was clear that educators believe that we need to prevent tragedies before they happen, and not just respond after a tragedy occurs. SB 1142 includes many of those ideas.

“It’s clear that we all want the same thing — to make sure that our schools and students are safe from the kinds of horrible tragedies that we’ve seen in too many schools in our country,” McCracken said.

“Gov. Wolf and the General Assembly have made this a priority and that will go a long way toward making our schools safer.”