ERIE – Continuing to listen to people across the commonwealth, Pennsylvania’s School Safety Task Force stopped at Erie High School in Erie on Wednesday.
The task force met with students, parents, school officials, law enforcement, healthcare experts and residents to hear their suggestions about how to make schools safer and improve security.
“The recent tragedy at Santa Fe High School in Texas is a stark reminder of the importance of this task force to bring people together and find real solutions to prevent these terrible moments and protect students,” said Gov. Tom Wolf.
“We must do everything we can to ensure that our schools are safe places for our children to learn.”
The task force includes: Charles Ramsey, chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency; Mark DiRocco, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators; Bonita Allen, president of the Pennsylvania Parent Teacher Association; Judy Morgitan, immediate past president of the Pennsylvania Association of School Nurses and Practitioners and Dolores McCracken, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association.
“In March I said that the movement to improve school safety will come from the ground up, from the students themselves,” said Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.
“This generation of students is bright, perceptive and brimming with ideas on how to better the world around them. I’ve learned a great deal from them, and I look forward to hearing more from their peers across the state.”
This is the fifth of six task force meetings in Pennsylvania to gather perspectives from local communities before issuing a final report by the end of June.
The priorities for the task force are:
- Identifying recommendations to improve school safety;
- Determining funding needs;
- Examining the effectiveness of student supports;
- Improving information sharing; and
- Seeking tools for anonymous reporting of suspicious activity.
Supporting the work of the task force are Homeland Security Director Marcus Brown, Education Secretary Pedro Rivera, Health Secretary and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine, Labor and Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak and Acting Colonel Robert Evanchick, Pennsylvania State Police.
The public is invited to share their recommendations for improving schools security online. The task force will use the feedback when preparing a final report.