Bills offer new options to
improve school safety
19, 2013- Hanson Quickel
bills drafted by Senator Don White would give local school districts new options
to improve student safety.Senate Bill 1193 would give school boards the option
of allowing licensed and trained staff to carry firearms on school property.
Senate Bill 1194 would allow districts in communities that rely on State Police
coverage to contract with municipal police from nearby jurisdictions to provide
security in their schools.
“In the aftermath of a number of tragic school
shootings, there is a debate across the country over how to better protect our
children,” Senator White said. “While most of this discussion surrounds the
broader issue of whether gun control measures are needed, I believe we must
further equip our schools with more options when it comes to improving the
safety and security of our children, teachers and school staff.”
would allow school personnel to have access to firearms in school safety zones
if school districts establish proper guidelines and they are licensed to carry
a concealed firearm and have met certain training requirements in the use and
handling of firearms.
“As we weigh our options, I believe we need to
consider providing school employees with more choices than just locking a door,
hiding in a closet or diving in front of bullets to protect students,” Senator
White said. “With the legal authority, licensing and proper training, I believe
allowing school administrators, teachers or other staff to carry firearms on
the school premises is an option worth exploring. I represent many school districts that are
rural, have no access to municipal police departments and rely on an already
undermanned Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) force. While the PSP does a tremendous job, some
schools face the reality of a delayed response time and may want to consider an
option such as outlined in SB 1193.”
would allow school districts to enter into cooperative police service
agreements with local law enforcement outside of the municipality in which the
school is located in areas where police services are furnished solely by the
Pennsylvania State Police.
“A number of schools located in municipalities
covered by the PSP are geographically within a short distance of local police
departments. My legislation would allow
school districts to contract for those services, which will enable additional
response in emergency situations, as well as the opportunity for neighboring
police departments to build relationships with school personnel and students in
their nearby communities.
bills provide school districts with options. In an era of concern over ‘unfunded mandates’, SB 1193 and 1194 provide
the opposite – increased flexibility to allow school districts to implement
measures to better protect our most precious resource – our children – in a
manner that best fits their unique needs,” concluded Senator White.