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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 7, 2019 10:02 AM
From: Representative Donna Oberlander
To: All House members
Subject: School Entity Threat Assessment Teams
In wake of national tragedies in our schools, I plan to introduce legislation that establishes risk and vulnerability assessment teams (RVAT) in each public school entity and requires the Office of Safe Schools, in consultation with the Department of Corrections (DOC), to issue guidelines for the threat assessment teams.

As you may know, the General Assembly passed Act 44 of 2018, which provides for extensive school safety provisions and resources. Among such provisions, Act 44 directs the PA State Police (PSP) to establish three RVATs to systematically conduct assessments of school entities throughout the Commonwealth.

However, last session, the House Education Committee held a hearing on school safety. Committee members heard that at the time, PSP’s RVATs conducted only 147 RVAT assessments from January 2016 to March 2018—and not all of the assessments were school buildings. Currently, Pennsylvania has over 5000 public school buildings, and the unfortunate reality is that even three RVATs cannot possibly assess all of them in the next few years.

This is why I am introducing legislation to direct each public school entity to establish an RVAT. Additionally, the bill directs the Office of Safe Schools, in consultation with DOC, to develop and issue guidelines for RVATs every three years. DOC is uniquely situated to provide expertise on securing buildings through an existing DOC program, and we can apply this experience to improve the safety of our school buildings.

Please join me in taking additional steps to protect our students and school employees in our schools by co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as HB415