Pa. Education Secretary reaches out to schools after Conn. - abc27 WHTM

Pa. Education Secretary reaches out to schools after Conn. school shooting

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The week after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, school safety is on the minds of many central Pennsylvanians.

The day of the shooting, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, Ron Tomalis, told abc27 News that Pennsylvania schools need to step up. 

"Yes, we've had meetings in the department," Tomalis said today. "We've reached out to superintendents all across the state to see what kind of resources we can provide to them."

While Tomalis said he believes current laws are enough to protect schools, he called on area schools to be vigilant.

"We learn from mistakes from the past," Tomalis said. "But we have to be able to make sure that we put in every single protection as possible."

Tomalis visited Lebanon High School Thursday, where he said they have every protection needed. The doors are locked, both inside and out. Visitors must go through security to enter the building, then once inside, they are monitored by cameras and security guards. These are measures that Tomalis said are good enough.

"We certainly don't want our schools to become fortresses," said Tomalis. "They're areas of learning where children need to come and feel safe and have a great environment in order to learn."

That is part of the reason Tomalis said Pennsylvanians probably will not see any new security laws.

"I'm not sure exactly what new mandate from Harrisburg on school districts could've prevented a strategy," said Tomalis. "The man who did the shooting broke a number of laws and that school was doing everything correct ... That was an exception. Pennsylvania schools are very safe."

Tomalis said he will continue to reach out to school districts to make sure they have the proper security procedures in place.

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