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12/12/2019 04:19 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=26790
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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 5, 2018 12:34 PM
From: Representative Dan L. Miller
To: All House members
Subject: Requiring School Safety Audits and Threat Assessment Teams
 
Unfortunately, the most recent acts of violence in our nation’s schools have again reminded us that school safety is a very real, daily concern and that we must do more to protect our students and staff. Accordingly, I will be re-introducing legislation that will require annual safety assessment audits and the creation of threat assessment teams for every school in Pennsylvania.

At a 2018 House Education Committee hearing, a testifier mentioned that other states have adopted, or are considering adopting, threat assessment models based on a successful program in Virginia. I have incorporated that model with some other ideas relating to school safety in this legislation.

In brief, each school will have to undergo an annual safety assessment audit. This audit will be conducted by police officers who are certified in the Physical Security Training Program provided by the Department of Homeland Security. The officers will review each school district’s unified or individual school safety plan, which must provide details on school security drill procedures, safety infrastructure, and the adoption of threat assessment teams. The teams will be made up of school counselors, teachers, and administrators and assigned to one or more schools by the district.

The established threat assessment teams will use legally available resources to determine, to the best of their knowledge, whether a person may be a threat to themselves or others. If the team finds that such a concern exists, they will report to the chief school administrator who will then notify the parents of the school’s concern, and discuss the best way to address the situation. Student privacy rights are required to be maintained and schools will still be required to contact law enforcement should the situation escalate. Additionally districts acting in good faith will not be held liable.

After a horrible tragedy, we often see people step forward saying that the danger was obvious beforehand, and while we cannot develop a system akin to an anonymous witch hunt, we must be willing to try new things and pool existing resources to support and protect our students and school staff.

Please join me in taking a proactive step towards stopping school violence in Pennsylvania before it happens.

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Introduced as HB124