School safety

Pennsylvania Eyes Statewide School Threats Reporting System

Jun 7, 2018
Wilfredo Lee / AP

Pennsylvania's Senate advanced legislation on Wednesday to set up a state-administered program to take anonymous reports of dangerous activities or threats of violence in schools, as lawmakers explore improvements to school safety spurred by February's school shooting in Florida that killed 17 people.

Senators approved the bill unanimously, modeling the program on the Safe2Tell program created in Colorado after 1999's Columbine school shooting.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

A Pennsylvania school district has given its teachers small wooden baseball bats as a reminder to fight a school shooter with any weapon available should other options fail.

The superintendent of the Millcreek Township School District says the 16-inch bats are primarily symbolic, but the district did want to have a "consistent tool" for all teachers should they need to fight and attacker.

Permitting School Officials to Carry Concealed Weapons

Sep 19, 2014
Paul Weaver / Flickr

State Senator Don White wants Pennsylvania school districts to be able to permit their staff to carry firearms in school buildings and on the grounds.

Supporters say his proposal would make schools safer but critics are arguing for more police. We talked with Senator White and Shira Goodman, Executive Director of Cease Fire Pennsylvania.

Here is what Essential Pittsburgh listeners on Twitter had to say about Senator White's decision to propose this legislation in response to the stabbings at Franklin Regional High School last spring.

Special series: This week we're exploring legislative action taken recently in Harrisburg on important bills that were overshadowed by the passage of the state budget.

New legislation to increase the number of schools with an on-site police presence now awaits Gov. Tom Corbett’s signature before becoming law.

A $3.9 million state grant program that will assist Pennsylvania school districts in hiring police officers has officially begun.

The program is awarding districts with money that must be used to strengthen school safety procedures.

With the funds, districts are expected to place a school resource officer or school police officer within the building or buildings in the district, Pennsylvania Department of Education spokesman Tim Eller said.

Columbine, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook — these schools have become the targets of shootings, provoking conversation about mental health and gun safety.

Now an “active shooter” training event will be held at the Homer Center School District in Indiana County Wednesday for all educators.

Psychologist Ralph May, one of the speakers, said there will be nine presentations walking the educators through an “active shooter” event.

Private schools will be able to compete for state grants to pay for armed security guards in Pennsylvania under a law recently signed by the governor.

Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati introduced the proposal in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Conn. His spokesman, Drew Crompton, said the state already gives money to private schools, so allowing them to compete for the grants isn't so far removed from current practice.

Pennsylvania lawmakers are asking schools at all levels to help them understand how they are preparing for an emergency like the one seen at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. 

Senate members decided to explore the topic after a hearing last month on school safety raised more questions about emergency planning in child care centers, buses and colleges than it answered.