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Malvern, PA 19355
Phone:  610-251-1070
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Hon. Duane Milne
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PO Box 202167
Harrisburg PA 17120-2167
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Making Our Schools Safer
6/29/2018

Making Our Schools Safer

 
Grant Program to Help Schools Fund Safety Improvements


As part of the recently-approved state budget for fiscal year 2018-19, a $60 million block grant has been created for schools to apply for grants to use for safety and security enhancements.

The program is designed so that schools have maximum flexibility to utilize the funding to meet their needs most specific for their schools.

Those priorities could include hiring school police officers, school resource officers, counselors and/or mental health counselors; alternative education and diversion programs; violence prevention initiatives; school safety and emergency preparedness plans; or physical upgrades to school buildings and equipment to improve safety.
 

 
Hotline Created to Encourage Threat Reporting


To help pre-empt potentially violent incidents, individuals soon will be able to submit an anonymous report via a phone, computer or smartphone app through the new Safe2Say program.

Under this new law, the newly operational tip line will facilitate students, teachers and community residents to report anonymously any unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent or criminal activities in schools.

The line, administered by the Office of Attorney General, will be staffed by trained professionals who can appropriately respond to the situation and assure the tipster ease of conscience that the concern will be addressed.

This Pennsylvania approach is modeled after the Safe2Tell program in Colorado, which has received more than 30,000 reports since its inception in 2004, including reports of a planned school attack, suicidal threats and child abuse.
 
 
New Law to Enhance School Safety


As a way to give school officials more guidance in creating safer schools, Act 44 of 2018 calls for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to offer a uniform approach to evaluating current security measures in every school building in Pennsylvania.

It will also require schools to provide employees with mandatory training on school safety and security, and mandate school security drills to be held in each school annually.

A final component of the new law will allow public school entities, such as school boards, to go into private, executive session for school safety discussions. This will allow school officials to freely debate and develop security plans that address the needs of their schools without fear of disclosing their plans to would-be attackers.
 
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