Lawmakers Approve New School Safety Measures

HARRISBURG – The Senate and the House of Representatives approved new school safety measures this week focusing on the behavioral health of students and better meeting the needs of individual school districts, according to Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46), who supported the measures.  

Several of the components of Senate Bill 144 address trauma-informed education, which studies the effect of traumatic events on students. As part of the bill, the School Safety and Security Committee would be required to develop model plans to help school districts implement best management practices for trauma-informed education.

The committee would also be expanded to include more experts in behavioral health and trauma-informed education to offer new perspectives on how to protect students.

The legislation provides for $60 million in funding for the School Safety and Security Grant Program, which was created last year. The legislation makes improvements in the program to ensure more schools receive the funds they need to keep students safe.

In addition, the legislation requires schools to create a threat assessment team to ensure students who could potentially pose a safety risk are able to receive necessary evaluations and treatment. It also encourages greater cooperation between schools and county agencies in determining the best course of action for at-risk students.

“The Senate has taken a number of critical steps over the past year to ensure school students have a safe environment to learn and grow,” Bartolotta said. “These bills take the next steps by safeguarding the mental health of Pennsylvania’s young people to help minimize broader risks to students, teachers and school personnel.”

The bill was sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law. 

CONTACT:   Colleen Greer (717) 787-1463