After Parkland Shooting, Pa. to Get a School-Safety Task Force

Speaking in Wynnewood on Thursday, Gov. Wolf said the group will work to “make sure that our schools are a safe place for our children to learn.”

school safety task force

Photo via Governor Tom Wolf/@GovernorTomWolf

Gov. Tom Wolf joined state auditor general Eugene DePasquale in Wynnewood on Thursday to announce the creation of Pennsylvania’s first-ever school-safety task force.

Wolf and DePasquale gathered at Penn Wynne Elementary School to detail plans for the task force, which comes amid calls for tougher school security (and gun laws) roughly one month after 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Wolf and DePasquale will co-chair the task force. The group will meet regularly throughout the next few months to hear concerns from school officials, teachers, parents, students, law enforcement, and health professionals across the state.

“Ensuring the safety of Pennsylvanians, especially our children, is my top priority as Governor,” Wolf said in a press release. “I am creating a school safety task force to ensure we are doing everything we can to make sure that our schools are a safe place for our children to learn. By working together and listening to those on the front lines, we can find solutions that will improve school safety, security, and preparedness.”

Task force members include Charles Ramsey, chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and former Philadelphia Police commissioner; Mark DiRocco, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators; Judy Morgitan, former president of the Pennsylvania Association of School Nurses and Practitioners; and Bonita Allen, president of the Pennsylvania Parent Teacher Association.

According to the governor’s office, the group will:

  • Hear from communities about their concerns with safety and potential policy changes;
  • Determine additional funding needs for the Office for Safe Schools, security and safety personnel, school counselors and nurses, and additional or upgraded security equipment;
  • Examine the effectiveness of student support and physical and mental health programs and information sharing at schools across the state;
  • Evaluate stronger state requirements for active shooter trainings and other security protocols, including current programs offered by the Pennsylvania State Police and other state agencies;
  • Strengthen information and best practice sharing among local schools, law enforcement, health care providers, and human services programs;
  • And examine new or existing tools to ensure easy and effective anonymous reporting of suspicious activity to law enforcement.

“Combining the safety review experience of my team with the knowledge of the other members on the task force will help make our schools safer,” DePasquale said in a statement. “There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to school safety. We will use our combined expertise to raise the bar for safe schools in Pennsylvania because we must provide a safe learning environment for our current students and protect future generations.”

You can submit feedback to the task force about school safety through a form on the governor’s website.