State Lawmakers Listen to Ideas on Safety at Schools

HARRISBURG — The shooting in Newtown, Conn., was never far from the discussion Wednesday as two panels of state senators heard testimony on school safety from educators, police officers and emergency coordinators.

“We need to look at today as the day the game changes,” said Officer John Bruner of the South Strabane Police Department in Washington County. “The only thing that’s a higher priority than teaching our schoolchildren is keeping them safe.”

Senators also heard from Superintendent Michael Strutt of the Butler Area School District, where just days before the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School the school board had approved arming school police officers. After the Friday shooting, the district expedited the process, so the officers reported to school the following Monday.

“We know that they are rare events, but when they happen, they are horrific,” Mr. Strutt said later. “So we wanted to be prepared should anyone walk into one of our schools with intention to do harm to one of our children or staff members.”

Click here to read the full article by Karen Langley published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (February 14, 2013).



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