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House Select Committee on School Safety, Security to Hold First Meeting April 18 in Harrisburg, Day Says
4/15/2013

HARRISBURG – The first meeting of the House Select Committee on School Safety and Security will be held Thursday, April 18, said Rep. Gary Day (R-Lehigh/Berks), who has been named chairman of the select committee.

The meeting has been planned for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Majority Caucus Room, Room 140, of the Main Capitol in Harrisburg. It is the first in a series of public meetings to carefully develop and examine policies that enhance safety in schools across Pennsylvania. One of the goals of the committee is to hear from residents, parents, educators, law enforcement and others from around the state in order to craft the best possible recommendations.

 “Our first meeting will include an overview of already existing state policies and laws dealing with student safety and protection, and we expect to hear from educators, law enforcement, first responders, and mental health experts,” Day said. “We have challenging work ahead of us, but I know that a thoughtful and reasoned approach to developing and reviewing any legislation before us that deals with school safety and security is the best way to make our schools a safe place for our children.”

Specifically, the select committee is tasked with examining and understanding the current status of school security policies and procedures affecting all schools and college campuses 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 the tragedy at Sandy Hook.

Additional hearings are expected to be held in both western and eastern Pennsylvania with an expectation to visit at least one traditional school setting and one college campus.

“We are using these hearings as a way to hear from the people across the state who are involved in student safety every day,” Day said. “These are the people and the professionals who firsthand are experienced in the strengths and weaknesses of school policies, state laws, facility design and other matters that all work in tandem to keep our kids safe. We can learn so much from these individuals, and it’s important to look to them for valuable insight and practical ideas.”

The select committee is 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 work will be compiled in a report due by Sept. 30. That report will include a series of recommendations that may lead to legislation, policies, executive orders, best practices, etc. – with the overall goal of helping to ensure the safety within our schools.

“The safety of our children when they are in school is at the forefront of every parent’s mind right now, and we have a duty to make sure that we have the best laws in place to address security threats within our classrooms and on our campuses,” Day said. “We have a wealth of knowledge and experience from which to draw, and I am looking forward to hearing from them and learning what we can do to help keep our kids safe.”

The members who have been named to the committee include: Reps. Cherelle Parker (D-Philadelphia), who will be serving as vice chairman; 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 committee was created as a result of House Resolution 53, which unanimously passed the state House in March.

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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