HARRISBURG — Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny) recently introduced three bills to help identify threats at schools and public institutions of higher education in order to increase school safety and security.
“We must do more to improve the safety at our schools, colleges and universities to ensure the safety of the students, faculty and staff,” Ortitay said. “My proposals would require a team at each public school entity to evaluate threats, provide guidance, and provide a proactive approach to school safety. The goal is to identify threats before they happen.”
House Bill 2493
would require each public school entity administrator to establish a threat assessment team at every school. The teams would:
• Provide guidance to students, faculty and staff regarding recognition of threatening or aberrant behavior that may represent a threat to the community.
• Identify members of the school community to whom threatening behavior should be reported.
• Implement security policies adopted by the school board.
• Report to the superintendent upon a preliminary determination that an individual poses a threat of violence to self or others.
In addition, House Bill 2492
would require public colleges and universities to create a threat assessment committee. The committee would include representatives from student affairs, law enforcement, human resources, counseling and residence life. The committee would:
• Provide guidance to students, faculty, and staff.
• Identify members of the campus community to whom threatening behavior should be reported.
• Create policies and procedures for the assessment of people whose behavior may present a threat, appropriate means of intervention with such people and sufficient means of action.
• Establish relationships or use existing relationships with local and state law enforcement agencies, as well as mental health agencies, to expedite assessment and intervention for people whose behavior may present a threat to safety.
House Bill 2466
would require public schools, charter schools and vocational technical schools starting in the 2019-20 school year to equip all security cameras and doors with motion detectors. The motion detectors would notify the person in charge of security of any movement during school hours. In the event of an emergency, law enforcement would have remote access to live video from the cameras. In addition, the legislation would require all schools, beginning in the fall, to conduct at least two security drills each year.
The bills have been assigned to the House Education committee.
The 46th Legislative District includes Collier and South Fayette townships and Bridgeville, Heidelberg, McDonald and Oakdale boroughs in Allegheny County. It also encompasses Canton, Cecil, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson and Smith townships and Burgettstown, McDonald and Midway boroughs in Washington County.
Representative Jason Ortitay
46th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tracy Polovick