Bill to arm educators heads to full Senate without further public hearing

Brunilde Fioravanti
Aprile 20, 2017

"Every state study that has been done about school safety has not recommended it".

"To be concise, PDE's opinion is that the scope of "lawful purpose" is unclear and unsettled, especially as it relates to school employees and parents (or citizens) possessing a weapon on school property", Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera said in a letter addressed to White dated June 2016. My bill would allow school personnel to have access to firearms in school safety zones if they receive authorization from the school board of directors, are licensed to carry a concealed firearm and have met certain training requirements in the use and handling of firearms (as outlined in my proposal).

As lawmakers look for ways to make schools safer, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Brockway, said school employees ought to have more options rather than just locking a door to protect students.

The bill moves to the full Senate for consideration.

"This board of education, the school district has spent thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars in security measures" added Cooper.

"Teachers are not trained law enforcement officers - their job is to educate children and act as role models", said PSEA leaders. However, the definition of "sanctuary campus" is not set in stone. "Is this going to be a priority given the myriad other things that law enforcement do?" he said.

SB 273 would defund any entity that "refuses access by Federal authorities ... for the purposes of investigating or enforcing a Federal law pertaining to an immigrant or immigration", but does not define whether requiring authorities to have a warrant or subpoena constitutes refusal of access. "People are passing on the right side when they shouldn't be".

The head of the Pennsylvania Teachers union is opposed to the idea, saying it threatens student safety.

The "documents" listed include the national anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and the Mayflower Compact.

Current law in Pennsylvania bans all weapons on school property. He said he's faced questions about whether the bill would mean law enforcement would be pulling over slow drivers instead of speeders, but that both categories could get ticketed if his bill passes. A similar House bill (HB 423) is pending in the House Commerce Committee.

This latter clause, and the potential for it to be used to justify posting religious endorsements in the abstract, raised eyebrows at the ACLU.

State Sen. Don White (R), 41st district, who introduced the bill said it was proposed to him by a teacher in the Indiana Area School District after a stabbing at Franklin Regional High School in April 2014. "Posting "In God We Trust" with no context will certainly send a religious message to students".

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