Pennsylvania School Safety Task Force Report

Posted by Pennsylvania Office of the Governor on September 3, 2018

Last week, Governor Tom Wolf and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released the full report from the Pennsylvania School Safety Task Force created by Gov. Wolf and the Auditor General in March after the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“After reading the full report, I am impressed by the frank and honest discussions that the task force had with students, teachers, administrators and law enforcement and I commend them for the important and comprehensive recommendations to protect our students and schools,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “It’s abundantly clear that by working together, schools, communities and the state can take a holistic approach to make our classrooms a safe place for students to learn. Our focus is on preventing violence that threatens schools, while also taking every precaution to protect and provide security for students and teachers.”

The initial report findings were released in June after a review of the discussions at six regional task force meetings held from April through June, and the feedback provided via an online survey. The roundtable events were held to listen to students, parents, school officials, school nurses and other health care professionals, law enforcement, education organizations and community members about their ideas to improve safety and security.

Initial findings:

“I want to thank the students, teachers, parents and community leaders who shared their personal experiences and provided invaluable input to our task force,” said Auditor General DePasquale. “Six times, in six vastly different schools, young men and women stood before us and described their feelings of helplessness and anxiety that they want more and better mental health services. Now, it is our job to heed those concerns and to do everything in our power to create safer spaces for learning.”

Each meeting included over 40 community participants invited to create a discussion focused on the needs of that region. Based on the expertise and opinions shared during the regional roundtables and hundreds of comments provided through the online feedback survey, the task force identified multiple themes, including recommendations, barriers and opportunities. The overarching themes to strengthen school security heard by the task force include:

  • Improved communication and information sharing
  • Enhanced social and emotional learning
  • Increased access to mental health services, including more health professionals in schools
  • Building community connections
  • Effectively integrating law enforcement and school resource officers
  • Providing guidance on establishing priorities for schools
  • Providing schools with more resources

These themes are expanded upon in the report, including detailed recommendations on how the state, community and school officials should work collaboratively with each other and students and families to use all the tools at their disposal to prevent school-based violence from occurring.

Read the full report here.

Read more background information here:

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