HARRISBURG (March 2, 2018) – State Senator Andrew Dinniman and members of the Senate Education Committee held a public hearing on school and student safety this morning.

“While we may focus in on the issue of gun control or mental health, we must understand that there is a larger, societal issue. For too long, we’ve discussed it in silos and sniped at each other from across political lines. But the real answer will be multifaceted and will include a combination of solutions,” said Dinniman, who serves as the committee’s minority chairman.

<<Watch a video of the hearing here>>

The committee heard testimony from:

  • State Senator Mike Regan

Former United States Marshal

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

  • Major Douglas Burig

Director of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation

Pennsylvania State Police

  • Matthew Stem

Deputy Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education

Pennsylvania Department of Education

  • Dr. Sarah Daly

Assistant Professor of Criminology, Law and Society

Saint Vincent College

  • Dr. Mark DiRocco

Executive Director

Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators

  • James E. Hyslop

President and CEO

Standing Stone Consulting, Inc.

State Senator Mike Regan, a former U.S. Marshal and Deputy Inspector General, presented detailed testimony calling for a Comprehensive School Safety Plan that includes thorough assessment, customized planning, and professional training.

“It is my strongly held conviction that finite school safety resources should not be allocated without a professionally-conducted preliminary needs assessment. Without an objective evaluation of a school’s assets and unique needs, the potential exists for taxpayer dollars to be mismanaged,” he said.

Watch a video of the Pa. Senate Education Committee March 2nd Hearing on School and Student Safety.

Regan also pointed out in that less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the 2017-18 Education was dedicated to the Safe School Initiative line item.

Major Burig discussed the Pennsylvania State Police’s Risk Vulnerability Assessment Team (RVAT), which is specially trained and certified to provide on-site security assessments. Since January 2016, the state police have conducted 147 RVAT assessments, most of which were at schools.

Major Burig agreed with Dinniman’s suggestion that security design features and criteria should be included in PlanCon, the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s system for funding school-building projects. 

Major Burig also testified that there is no state or local mandate for schools to follow the PSP’s RVAT recommendations.

“Safety has to be the top order when we’re designing and building new schools,” Dinniman said. “In order for students to learn and to grow, safety must be a top priority in schools and we need to make it a top priority in building them, too.”

Matthew Stem, Deputy Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education for the Pennsylvania Department of Education testified that the department makes available $6.5 million in Safe Schools Grants, which go to school resource officers, as well as equipment and programs.

Dinniman requested that the Department of Education review its funding to see if there are other areas where resources can be economized or diverted to increase funding for the Safe School Grants. 

Dr. Mark DiRocco, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Association of School administrators, discussed the importance of student involvement in reporting potential safety threats.

Dinniman said it was crucial to listen to students and actively engage young people not only on the question of school and student safety but also on a whole host of topics involving education. 

“Unfortunately, too many of us have come to see this type of violence as the ‘new normal,’ and we can’t anymore,” Dinniman said. “Some of the leadership and activism that is coming out of the next generation is inspiring. Young people are working to change the culture of violence in our society. They recognize that government is not solving this problem and they’re stepping into the breach. I think we need to involve and listen to our students because their voice is key in solving this problem.”

Upcoming Events

December 2018
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
November 25, 2018 November 26, 2018 November 27, 2018 November 28, 2018 November 29, 2018 November 30, 2018 December 1, 2018
December 2, 2018 December 3, 2018 December 4, 2018 December 5, 2018 December 6, 2018 December 7, 2018 December 8, 2018
December 9, 2018 December 10, 2018 December 11, 2018 December 12, 2018 December 13, 2018 December 14, 2018 December 15, 2018
December 16, 2018 December 17, 2018 December 18, 2018 December 19, 2018 December 20, 2018 December 21, 2018 December 22, 2018
December 23, 2018 December 24, 2018 December 25, 2018 December 26, 2018 December 27, 2018 December 28, 2018 December 29, 2018
December 30, 2018 December 31, 2018 January 1, 2019 January 2, 2019 January 3, 2019 January 4, 2019 January 5, 2019

Looking For Something

Still not finding what you're looking for? Please contact me or my staff so we can help you!