In the wake of a number of school shootings across the country and threats here in Pennsylvania, a new task force met for the first time today. They say they will find ways to make our schools safer.
When lawmakers return to the Capitol next week, school safety and security will be a major topic of discussion. Today, that discussion was held by members of the Pennsylvania School Safety Task Force.
Madison Bernlohr is a high school senior in the Central York School District. Schools there were closed for several days earlier this year after threats were made on social media. She tells us, “Prior to those threats, we kind of just didn’t think about it much. But, it definitely put it at the front of our minds.”
Which is why Madison was invited to Friday’s meeting of the newly formed Pennsylvania School Safety Task Force.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says, “The Governor and I believe that it’s important that we have this task force, so that we could actually do more listening than talking.
The task force discussed a number of ways to prevent a tragedy at Pennsylvania schools, including more counselors, armed security, and metal detectors.
Madison says, “We have to prevent guns from getting in the school before we can prevent anything from happening inside the school.”
Director of the PA Office of Homeland Security, Marcus Brown, says, “There is no price tag you’re gonna put on our children’s safety and the teachers’ safety and the administration’s safety.”
The idea of arming teachers was also brought up, but met mostly with concern. Another Senior from Central York High School, Alec Neese, says, “When you put that weapon on the teacher… it turns them into something that parents and students do not want in our classrooms.”
But, being able to share that idea, and others, gives Neese hope that the task force can bring positive change to Pennsylvania schools.
Neese says, “It gives you an opportunity to form a different opinion, to give opinions, to help them do a better job at what they’re doing, and to bring change. Because, to bring change, there needs to be action.”
Today was just the first six meetings the School Safety Task Force will be holding across Pennsylvania.
–Matt Heckel, Jet 24 Action News