HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A Pennsylvania State Senator has introduced legislation to require schools to employ armed security personnel during school hours.
Senator Mike Regan (R-Cumberland/York) has introduced Senate Bill 907, which will require school districts to employ an armed, trained, and vetted school security person at every school during school hours.
“Students want to know their schools are safe and parents want to know their children will come home at the end of the school day,” Regan said, who described the bill as part of a “decade long fight.”
“The safety of students, teachers, and school staff should be a top priority. Students deserve a safe environment where they can learn and grow, and teachers should not have the sole responsibility for protecting our kids.”
According to Senate Republicans, the bill allows schools to place armed personnel at extracurricular events outside normal school hours.
Regan’s proposal will require armed personnel to comply with vigorous training and certification requirements, such as lethal weapons training and how to interact with students.
“We require our children to attend school therefore it is incumbent upon us to do everything we can to secure them while they are there,” Regan said. “Failure to enact this bill would leave our schools, teachers, and students more vulnerable to attack. That is too great a risk that we just cannot take.”
Regan, a former U.S. Marshal, says adding armed security would cost between $100-200 million. He says schools are sitting on unaccounted money and there’s no more important priority than protecting students.
“State legislators are saying you have to go to school,” says Regan. “So if we’re saying you have to go to school and we’re putting you in the harms way, it’s our responsibility to make sure you’re safe. And we’re not doing that. We’re not doing it.”
The State School Boards Association hasn’t seen the bill and wouldn’t comment on specifics, but hinted at resistance to mandates saying “we believe that school districts know their communities best” and that any law should “ensure that districts can make decisions locally while maintaining the safety of students and staff.”