School safety will be the focus of a joint meeting of two Senate committees next month including discussions about security measures that schools have in place and school-to-parent communication during an emergency.
The hearing of the Senate Education Committee and the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, will start at 9 a.m. on Feb. 13 in the North Office Building, Hearing Room 1, in the Capitol complex.
Testifiers will include representatives of education and law enforcement organizations, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency as well as superintendents, teachers and parents.
Around the nation and in the state House, lawmakers have shown a renewed interest in the issues of gun control measures and school safety in the wake of December’s school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead.
Freshman Rep. Mike Regan, R-Dillsburg, for one, is proposing legislation to put retired armed police officers in schools.
Scarnati is proposing increasing the funding available for schools to hire armed guards. He said he knows many schools districts already have armed police and school resource officers, but some don’t due to lack of funding.
Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne County, who chairs the veterans affairs and emergency preparedness committee, stressed the importance of emergency planning and training in preventing and responding to a school crisis.
Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon County, who chairs the education committee, said when it comes to student learning, education and a safe environment must go hand-in-hand.
“Students, teachers, and educators need to know they are safe and parents have a right to know their children are and will be safe,” he said.