On Monday, July 15, the House Select Committee on School Safety held its final hearing. In the Irvis Office Building at the State Capitol, legislators listened to expert testimony from a variety of educational community stakeholders on the issue of school safety. CommonGround PA submitted testimony in support of including the student voice in the committee’s recommendations – and in support of the Pennsylvania Safe Schools Act, HB 156.
Testimony was given by the experts listed below and covered the noted areas:
Dr. John Sygielski President, Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC)
Emergency preparedness for an active shooter on school grounds
Michelle Twersky, Pennsylvania Associate Regional Director, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, Member of PA CAPE
Dr. David Hegedus Associate Director of Christian Schools International, Member of PA CAPE
How faith-based schools work with local law enforcement and their communities to prevent violence and combat prejudice.
Christopher Budano Assistant Director of Education Services, PA State Education Association (PSEA)
General testimony on the importance of effective safe schools policies and a presentation on the main points of Solutions that Work.
Sallie Lynagh Children’s Advocate, Disability Rights Network of PA
Articulating the experience of students with disabilities in the discipline framework for schools and support for school-wide positive behavior support.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale PA Department of the Auditor General
Explained how the Auditor General’s office conducts audits of how schools use funds for safe schools and called on legislators to support more efficient use of violence prevention grants.
Chairman Rep. Gary Day (R-Carbon) convened the hearing with Vice-Chair Rep. Cherelle Parker (D-Philadelphia). Committee members present for the hearing included Rep. Seth Grove (R-York), Rep. Mike Regan (R-York/Cumberland), Rep. Todd Rock (R-Franklin), Rep. Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery), Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin), Rep. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver), Rep. Patrick Harkins (D-Erie), and Rep. Dom Costa (D-Allegheny).
Committee members that were absent: Rep. Michelle Brownlee (D-Philadelphia), Rep. Mary Jo Daley (D-Montgomery), Rep. Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny), Rep. Joe Hackett (R-Delaware), and Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne).
The House Select Committee on School Safety will issue their recommendations for legislation to be adopted by the General Assembly by the end of September 2013.
Photo: Rep. Todd Rock and Rep. Marcy Toepel