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Pennsylvania officials look for ways to make schools safer

In the wake of some very serious incidents, officials across the country are working on making schools safer for our children. In Pennsylvania, officials are doing the same to help prevent crimes from occurring on school grounds.

Some of these measures address increasing security at access points for the schools. One school district has implemented the use of a Raptor visitor management system. This system prevents visitors from being able to just walk into the school. Instead, they must be buzzed in by an official, where an instant background check is conducted.

Other schools have major construction projects planned to reconfigure the way the entrances are set up. Moving offices closer to the main entrances and installing glass-enclosed vestibules are a part of some of these plans.

Front entrances aren’t the only area of concern. Other measures address safety on the inside of schools, like updating or adding communications and surveillance systems. For instance, North Penn’s communication system is linked for radio-communication between schools.

Lawmakers have proposed another solution for Pennsylvania schools. Legislation has been proposed that would allow school boards to decide whether they will arm their employees. Some districts show support for Pa. Senate Bill 1193, while others have said that it wouldn’t be a consideration at this point. House Bill 122 offers a more limited proposal by suggesting that schools have a designated, licensed and trained official to carry a weapon on the premises.

Both of these measures have drawn support and criticism. For some, placing this responsibility on teachers or other school employees is something that shouldn’t happen. For others, the idea of bringing additional weapons on school property is never a good idea; they could end up in the wrong hands.

When a child becomes the victim of a violent crime, the perpetrator is not the only one that deserves representation. Some attorneys focus their practice on helping the victims of crime.

Source: The Times Herald, “Pennsylvania state lawmaker proposes letting school boards decide on arming teachers,” Jennifer Lawson, Dec. 26, 2013

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