Pennsylvania

In 2018, the Police Foundation staff conducted a comprehensive public domain scan of state legislation from all 50 states and the District of Columbia related to the following aspects of school safety and security:

  • facility security and assessment requirements;
  • creation, and identification of roles and responsibilities for state school safety centers and school safety teams/committees;
  • requirements for school administrators and faculty;
  • allocation of funds for improving school safety and security; and
  • all-hazards emergency planning and preparedness.

The Police Foundation also reviewed legislation and amendments passed by state legislatures and signed into law following the mass violence attacks at schools in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas. Seven states—Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island—officially codified new significant school safety and security laws that address at least one of the aspects mentioned above. The legislative review utilized open source research, and encompasses all legislation that was officially codified by September 11, 2018.

The highlighted states on the map represent examples of states with comprehensive school safety legislation and promising practices.

 

PROMISING PRACTICES

  • Article XIII – B: School Safety and Security
  • Section 1302 – B: School Safety and Security Committee
    • Establishes the School Safety and Security Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The Committee must be consist of state members including: law enforcement, emergency management, education, and legislators. Additionally, it includes individuals recommended by: the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, local law enforcement recommended by the State Fraternal Order of Police, a child psychologist recommended by the Pennsylvania Psychological Association, a licensed clinical social worker recommended by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, and an architect recommended by the American Institute of Architects of Pennsylvania. Some of these members must have experience in school safety and security matters
  • Section 1303 – B: School Safety and Security Assessment Criteria
    • Requires the School Safety and Security Committee to establish criteria for every school to use when conducting a school safety and security assessment, no later than September 30, 2018. The criteria must include review and analysis of plans, policies, and practices; a policy and training assessment; and, a student assistance and behavioral health assessment.
  • Section 1304 – B: School Safety and Security Assessment Providers
    • Requires the School Safety and Security Committee to establish criteria for the registration of persons with knowledge and experience in matters of school safety and security that qualify them to conduct school safety and security assessments based upon the established criteria, beginning October 31, 2018
  • Section 1305 – B: Survey of School Safety and Security
    • Requires the School Safety and Security Committee to develop a survey instrument to distribute to all school entities to measure school safety and security preparedness that must be completed by November 30, 2018
    • Requires the School Safety and Security Committee to review and evaluate all of the survey instruments by January 31, 2019
  • Section 1306 – B: School Safety and Security Grant Program
    • Establishes a grant program under the School Safety and Security Committee to provide a minimum of $25,000 to school districts whose applications are appropriate. Funds must be used by school entities for programs that include: conducting school safety and security assessments; district-wide school safety, violence prevention, emergency preparedness, and all-hazards plans, revisions, and updates and planning and conducting such drills and related activities with local first responders; security planning and purchase of security-related technology
  • Section 1307 – B: Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Teams
    • Requires the Pennsylvania State Police to establish three Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Teams—no later than March 31, 2019—to conduct school safety and security assessments when school is in session and develop annual reports about critical school safety and security needs
  • Section 1309 – B: School Safety and Security Coordinator
    • Requires the chief school administrator of every school entity to appoint a school safety and security coordinator by August 31, 2018 to oversee all school police officers, school resource officers, school security guards, and policies and procedures in the school entity. This individual must: review the policies and procedures relative to school safety and security and compliance with relevant state and federal laws, coordinate safety and security assessments, liaise with law enforcement and other organizations on matters related to school safety and security, submit annual reports by June 30 regarding safety and security practices and strategies to enhance the entity’s practices and strategies, and coordinate trainings and resources for all staff and students on all threats.
        • Article XIII – C School Police Officers and School Resource Officers
          • Clearly distinguishes school police officers, school resource officers, and school security guards. School police officers are employed by the school district to enforce order on school properties. School resource officers are law enforcement officers who are stationed at a school based on an agreement between the law enforcement agency and school entity in order to assist in identifying physical changes in the environment to reduce crime in and around the school, assist in developing school policies to address crime, develop and educate students in crime prevention and safety, and address crime and violence issues. School security guards are employed by either the school entity or as an independent contractor for routine safety and security issues including safety support services, campus supervision, and security functions that improve and maintain safety.
          • Requires school police officers to be authorized to carry a firearm, complete training, or have graduated from the Pennsylvania State Police Academy and have been employed as a trooper
        • Article XIII – D Safe2Say Program
          • Establishes the Safe2Say anonymous reporting system to serve as a one-stop shop for students, teachers, and community members to report behavior perceived to be threatening to an individual or school entity. It is also intended to increase information-sharing and communication between law enforcement, school entities, and the community
  • Requires each school district, in cooperation with local emergency management and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, to develop and implement a comprehensive disaster response and emergency preparedness plan that is reviewed annually.
  • Requires each school entity to assemble and make ready for immediate deployment an Incident Command Post, by September 30 of each year.
  • Allows for schools to apply to any judge of the court of common pleas to appoint an individual or multiple individuals as school police officers.
  • Requires fire drills to be conducted not less than once-a-month, at least one school security drill (within 90 days of the beginning of the school year), and at least two evacuation drills on buses (one during the first week of the first term and the second during the month of March).
  • Requires the chief school administrator or their designee to oversee the instruction and training of students and school employees in procedures to be used, notify and request assistance from law enforcement and emergency management before conducting the drill, and provide notice of the drill.
  • Requires every chief school administrator to certify that the drills have been conducted on or before April 10 every year.
  • Requires every school district to develop and implement a comprehensive disaster response and emergency preparedness plan.  
  • Requires every school to conduct at least one disaster response or emergency preparedness drill annually.

State Of Pennsylvania

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