State and federal leaders sorting out how to make schools safer

Local News

For several months now, lawmakers across Pennsylvania, and the country, have been trying to tackle the issue of school safety.  Today, an update on what’s being done on both the state and federal level. 

On Saturday morning, 650 seniors in the Cumberland Valley School District will be graduating.

And, the Superintendent, Dr. Fred Withum, says, “There isn’t a senior walking across the stage at commencement tomorrow morning who does not know the genuine fear and anxiety created by the potential for school violence.”

Which is why Withum says now is the time for lawmakers to act.  “What is required,” he says, “is a comprehensive plan to protect our children and make our schools safer.”

State Senator Mike Regan says, “We’re not being reactive, we’re being proactive in this situation.”  

On Friday, the senator listed more than a dozen bills from both democrats and republicans that have been introduced at the State Capitol from allowing some school employees to carry firearms to increasing security measures like cameras and metal detectors.

Regan says, “Many of these schools have nothing there. People can walk straight in. That’s wrong.”

On the federal level, US Representative Lou Barletta on Friday introduced the ‘Protecting Our Kids Act’ requiring the departments of education and homeland security to develop guidelines for school security similar to what’s currently done with federal buildings. 

Barletta says, “If we can do this for ourselves, why in God’s name can we not make sure that our children go to school without any fear?”

A spokesman for Senator Bob Casey’s campaign said, “Congressman Lou Barletta has spent his four terms in congress consistently opposing commonsense gun safety measures”. 

For Dr. Withum, he just hopes all sides can come together to keep his students safe.  “Responding to school violence is not a Republican issue, it is not a Democratic issue. It is the issue.”

–Matt Heckel, JET 24 Action News

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