State Legislators Visit Downingtown to Discuss School Safety
On Tuesday, September 11, 2018, State Senators John Rafferty, R-44, Tom McGarrigle, R-26, David G. Argall, R-29, and Andrew Dinniman D-19, joined State Representative Becky Corbin and several local safety officials in the Central Administration Building for a round table discussion on school safety issues. Representing DASD at the table were Superintendent Emilie Lonardi, School Board President Jane Bertone, Assistant Superintendent Robert Reed, LMS Principal Jon Ross, Chief Security Officer Tim Hubbard, School Psychologist Dr. Heather Carr and Supervisor of Operations Jeff Kobernick.
Senator Rafferty opened the session with an announcement that $60,000,000 in state grant funding had been approved to help districts strengthen school safety. Grant applications are due in October. Senator Rafferty also announced passage of several pieces of legislation including a requirement that districts conduct mandatory school security drills, provides Pennsylvania with a new Safe2Say hotline that can be used to report threats and gives school boards the ability to discuss school safety in executive session.
In the discussion that followed Dr. Lonardi pressed the legislators on the importance of providing state funding that could add mental health professionals and school resource officers. “We are in the people business and we need to be proactive”, said Dr. Lonardi, “It’s important to harden our buildings, but it’s the human element that will really help children at-risk. Schools need help from the state to fund more mental health professionals and school resource officers.“
Also present during the discussion was Upper Uwchlan Police Chief DeMarco who thanked the legislators for their proactive and positive stance on protecting schools. He agreed that adding professionals in the mental health field would be a great help in stopping school violence.
The visit to Downingtown was just one stop the committee is making to gather ideas and knowledge of what districts are doing as it pertains to safety and security.