Legislation sponsored by Reps. Craig Staats (R-Bucks), Gary Day (R-Berks/Lehigh) and Sid Michaels Kavulich (D-Lackawanna), which aims to increase school security and preparedness, becomes law today without the governor’s signature.
House Bill 178
, which will permit Pennsylvania’s public schools to conduct annual security drills in each of its school buildings, was the vehicle for the Public School Code bill that was passed by the General Assembly and presented to Gov. Tom Wolf late last week. The governor had 10 days to sign or veto the bill, but announced late Friday that he is exercising his third option – to let it sit for 10 days and become law without his signature.
“This new law encourages school entities, including career and technical schools, intermediate units and various charter schools to conduct at least one security drill per school year in each school building,” said Staats, whose bill urges schools to practice emergency procedures to address acts of terrorism, an armed intruder or other violent threats. The security drills may be used in place of one of the school’s monthly fire drills.
“Unfortunately, in today’s world, our children, faculty and staff must be prepared for the worst. Their lives could depend on it,” he said. “Some schools are already practicing these safety measures. My bill aims to encourage all schools to be proactive and be prepared.”
The bill asserts that the security drill may be conducted while school is in session and students are present. The chief school administrator or designee is required to oversee the instruction and training of students and school employees, notify parents in advance of the drill, and enlist the assistance of local police and emergency management agencies.
The School Code bill also contains many provisions to increase educational opportunities for children, including measures to protect good teachers and programs. The bill further prohibits lunch shaming, delays using the Keystone Exam as a graduation requirement, unifies agricultural education and requires opioid abuse prevention education.
Representative Craig Staats
145th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Donna Pinkham