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Lehigh Valley Lawmaker Named to Lead Select Committee on School Safety, Security
4/3/2013

Rep. Gary Day spearheaded effort to create the special legislative committee

HARRISBURG – Rep. Gary Day (R-Lehigh/Berks) was named this week by Speaker of the House Sam Smith (R-Jefferson/Indiana/Armstrong) to lead the House Select Committee on School Safety and Security.

Day steered the effort in the House to create the committee through House Resolution 53. As directed in the resolution, the select committee will help develop and examine legislation that enhances safety in schools across Pennsylvania.

“Ever since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School focused our collective attention as a nation on the issue of school safety and security, many schools around our community and across the state have started the conversation on what is best for our students and their safety,” said Day. “It’s time to continue that conversation at the state level and have a thoughtful approach to address concerns regarding school safety and security.”

The select committee on school safety and security will examine and understand thoroughly the current status of school security policies and procedures and relevant state law before new school safety legislation advances in the House. Numerous measures have already been introduced in the House in the wake of Sandy Hook.

Day will be joined by Rep. Cherelle L. Parker (D-Philadelphia), who will serve as vice chairperson of the committee.

The select committee is now responsible for investigating, reviewing and making recommendations regarding:

  • Security policies and procedures in public and nonpublic schools and institutions of higher education in this Commonwealth.
  • State laws and regulations related to school safety and security.
  • Early detection of potentially violent perpetrators.
  • Any potential budgetary, revenue and governance reforms necessary to address these matters.

The committee’s focus will be on reviewing safety policies and procedures; accepting expert testimony through both written submissions and traditional hearings; and producing a report of recommendations. That report may lead to legislation, policies, executive orders, best practices, etc. – with the overall goal of helping to ensure the safety within our schools.

The select committee will be empowered to call witnesses, including but not limited to representatives of the Office of Safe Schools within the Department of Education and the Safe Schools Advocate for the School District of Philadelphia, to answer questions and provide information and documents the committee deems necessary to conduct its investigation. 

This bipartisan committee will be composed of two members – one from each the majority and minority sides – from each of the following committees: Education, Health, Local Government, Children and Youth, Judiciary and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness, with three at-large members with one serving as chairperson.

The members who have been named to the committee include: Reps. Seth Grove (R-York), Joe Hackett (R-Delaware), Mike Regan (R-York/Cumberland), Todd Rock (R-Franklin), Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery), Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne), Jim Christiana (R-Beaver), Patrick Harkins (D-Erie), Dom Costa (D-Allegheny), Michelle Brownlee (D-Philadelphia), Patty Kim (D-Dauphin), Mary Jo Dailey (D-Montgomery) and Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny).

“The focus of this committee will be on ensuring the safety of our students and what our schools can do to make sure their schools are as secure as possible while also helping to ensure that we foster a caring, warm environment for learning,” Day said. “Kids should be allowed to be kids, and they shouldn’t have to worry about their personal safety while they’re at school. Our job is to give them, their parents and loved ones, and their educators better peace of mind through enhanced policies or best practices.”

Announcement of the committee’s first meeting will be released in the near future. The select committee must submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the House by Sept. 30.

Representative Gary Day
187th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Jennifer Keaton
717.705.2094
jkeaton@pahousegop.com
RepGaryDay.com / Facebook.com/RepGaryDay
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