McKeesport – March 9, 2018 – In the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students died, state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) today proposed placing an armed security guard at all school buildings that conduct classroom instruction.
“It is clear to me that we need to have an armed security officer in each school building where classroom instruction is taking place,” Brewster said. “Students must be better protected.
“Parents deserve assurance that school buildings are safe and secure environments.”
Brewster said his plan to add armed security to each school building would be part of a menu of school safety ideas considered by his proposed statewide school security panel. Last week, Brewster called for the creation of the panel to examine school security ideas and present recommendations for safety upgrades.
“The recent accounts of horrific school shootings where students have been killed or wounded by armed assailants — should prompt action by lawmakers,” Brewster said. “A statewide school safety panel could evaluate a range of ideas and use proposals from experts on safety and security.
“There have a been many ideas offered about how we can improve school safety,” the McKeesport lawmaker said. “We need to be open-minded and willing to consider both conventional and non-conventional school safety proposals.”
Brewster said metal detectors, automatic emergency doorstops, police call buttons and other security ideas are excellent proposals that would help secure buildings from armed assailants. He added that armed security personnel would augment these safety initiatives.
Brewster’s legislation would create an 11-member Statewide School Safety Panel responsible for reviewing proposed changes to strategic plans, analyzing existing safety procedures and studying new ideas, technologies and strategies. The panel would make recommendations, policy suggestions and design plans to help school officials protect students.
“There should be an ongoing panel of experts who can recommend new policies and procedures we can use to protect children in school and on buses,” Brewster said. “We need to understand how schools are providing protection now and seek ideas about improving safety standards.
“The panel could stipulate specific training and requirements applicable to all school security officers and identify how the costs can be equitably apportioned between the state and school district,” he added. “Many schools have implemented security procedures and strategies that could be used by other schools to better protect students when there are threats.”