Harrisburg – Aug. 29, 2019 – The statewide School Safety and Security Committee has endorsed state Sen. Jim Brewster’s (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) plan to create a subcommittee to explore the development of baseline safety and security standards applicable to all schools.
“To ensure the safety and security of our students and all who go into public schools, it is critical that schools’ baseline safety standards be in place,” Brewster said. “A detailed safety and security plan with a focus on a school’s physical plan, accessibility to mental health services and environmental protections is necessary.”
Recommendations produced by the subcommittee will be sent to the full School Safety and Security Committee for approval, Brewster said.
Earlier this year, Brewster sent a letter to the members of the School Safety and Security Committee asking that they consider his proposal. Brewster, who serves on the committee, has sponsored Senate Bill 788, which would create baseline standards by statute.
Brewster said he asked the committee to act on his idea to expedite work on developing the standards.
“All school districts should have state resources available to adhere to easily understandable and clear baseline standards regarding the physical structure of schools, access to mental health professionals for counseling, and protection from environmental problems such as lead, mold and other health threats,” Brewster said. “Our efforts are centered on protecting students, teachers, administrators and parents who are in our school buildings and on campus.”
The McKeesport lawmaker said the state budget has included $60 million installments for each of the last two years for school safety. This funding can be applied to helping school districts comply with baseline requirements developed by the subcommittee, he said.
The School Safety and Security Committee was established by statute in 2018 and is administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
Brewster said he is grateful that the committee acted on his request and pleased that it made his proposal a priority.