School security discussed at Senate hearing - abc27 WHTM

Dauphin County

School security discussed at Senate hearing

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At a Senate hearing today, speakers from law enforcement to the secretary of education all agreed: school districts need a security plan that's practiced over and over again.

"There are a hundred horror stories I can share with you about events that were made worse because the people that responded had never trained before, and never worked together before," said Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director Glenn Cannon.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Different districts have different immediate security concerns.

"We need to be able to provide the flexibility at the local level for school districts to be able to address the needs that they believe are important to meet their community needs," said Secretary of Education Ronald Tomalis.

Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan recalled the tragic Amish school shooting in Lancaster County.

"Amish school shooting was a watershed event for the Pennsylvania State Police. We've been making strides towards school safety since then. We are doing active shooter training with all of our troopers, so all of our troopers, and that's the key change we have made since 2006. Is that the first trooper on the scene has to be able to take action?" asked Noonan.

Susquehanna Township's high school has a school resource officer to watch over the up to 1,200 people that fill the building. "Between our staff, our students, cafeteria workers, that's probably larger than some small boroughs in this commonwealth. Should not that building be properly policed?" asked Chief Rob Martin of Susquehanna Township Police Department.

There's was concern about arming administrators or staff.

Officer and SWAT team member John Burner out of Washington, Pennsylvania has studied the idea. He suggests instead of arming administrators and staff, have a trained uniformed police officer in every building.

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