Pa. senate education committee takes input on how to keep schools safe from violence

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Some people have called for action from lawmakers following the Parkland school shooting in Florida.

In Pennsylvania, a state senate committee is answering the call by opening up a conversation about school safety.

Friday's hearing was a chance for different people from the state police, department of education, school administrators, and security experts to all come together and share their thoughts on how to make schools safer.

In the wake of recent threats, former U.S. Marshal and current Pennsylvania state senator Mike Regan is one of many offering their expertise and guidance on how to improve safety at our schools.

Sen. Mike Regan (R-Cumberland/York) said "we need to put an armed guard in every school. We need to harden entry points. We need to educate our teachers. We need to plan. We need to assess. We need to do all these things to make our schools safer."

Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Major Douglas Burig said " we do a lot of presentations to school districts, school administrators, school staff, about what to expect in an active shooter event, to train them to recognize behaviors that can be indicative of somebody moving progressing towards violence."

School safety is on the minds of many at a Senate Education Committee hearing as some focus on security while others have their eyes on students.

Pennsylvania  Association of School Administrators executive director Dr. Mark DiRicco said "we have to put our best resources together and our best people together, to know how to look for these signs, to intervene when we see these signs, and to hopefully stop, these acts of violence, before they occur."

Saint Vincent College assistant professor of criminology Dr. Sarah Daly "but also to provide support for families, we should offer them examples of what they can do and warning signs to look for in their children."

With input from a wide range of experts from the Pennsylvania State Police to state legislators and school administrators, the hearing brought out a variety of solutions as well.

"I hope that today is the start of a sustainable conversation, that this doesn't fade away, as things go on," DiRicco said.

"Typically when something like this happens, legislation comes. A lot of it starts coming at them. So what works? What won't work? I think this is one of those cases where I can apply my expertise to my job as a senator, and hopefully be helpful to the people of Pennsylvania."

There were a lot of suggestions for how to make schools safer,  how much money the state has to implement any of the ideas will be another issue for legislators to figure out.