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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 13, 2018 08:48 AM
From: Representative Patrick J. Harkins
To: All House members
Subject: Allowing Schools to Conduct More Security Drills
As a result of robust fire and emergency evacuation drills in schools, the United States Fire Administration reported a total of five fatalities caused by school fires between the years 2009 and 2011 throughout the United States. In the wake of the tragic events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, in which 17 students and faculty died in a single active shooter incident, school superintendents in my area and throughout the Commonwealth are working to ensure their students and staff are as prepared for a security threat as they are for a fire emergency.
While fire drills remain a significant safety protocol for every school district to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our children, we must – unfortunately – also consider the danger posed by school shootings. To address this issue, I will be introducing legislation that would amend the Public School Code to give school districts the option to replace up to five of their monthly fire drills each year with school security drills. It is imperative that we equip our students and teachers with the necessary emergency response plans, both fire and otherwise, to ensure their continued safety.
We are too often confronted by what we as lawmakers could or should have done to prevent such tragic events from occurring. Please join me in assuring that our teachers, students and staff will be prepared in the event of a school incident.

Introduced as HB2326