HARRISBURG (March 12, 2013) Because a joint state Senate hearing on school safety raised a host of disturbing questions about emergency planning in child care centers, buses and colleges, a second hearing will be held tomorrow to explore strategies for protecting infants, toddlers, college students and staff in these venues.
The follow-up hearing will again bring together members of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, chaired by Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20), and the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-48). The first hearing, held on Feb. 13, included experts who discussed the benefits of armed guards, school resource officers, and additional training and drills.
Tomorrow’s hearing (agenda listed below) will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in North Office Building, Hearing Room 1, Harrisburg, and will feature Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, who oversees school safety audits; Alison Kiss of the Clery Center for Campus Security; campus police from the Luzerne County Community College; spokespersons from the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference; and representatives of other schools and child care centers.
“We will examine how preschools, parochial schools, and public and private colleges plan for and respond to both internal and external threats,” said Baker. “After the Sandy Hook tragedy and Superstorm Sandy, every facility and staff member responsible for the care of large numbers of children should be reviewing, updating and drilling their emergency plans.”
“As elected officials, ensuring the safety and security of all Pennsylvanians, especially those who are most defenseless, is paramount,” said Folmer. “At our first school safety hearing, Senator Baker and I heard from public school district officials and law enforcement professionals. I’m hopeful we can take those opinions, along with the information and perspectives gathered today from preschool, parochial, and collegiate communities, to help provide a safe environment for all children.”
Many school districts across the Commonwealth already employ armed police and school resource officers, or are debating their hiring.
Senator Baker’s Office: Jennifer Wilson, 570-675-3931
Senator Folmer’s Office: Beth Williams, 717-787-5708