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Safety & Discipline

State senator wants to make armed security guards at schools mandatory

Dillon Carr
| Friday, March 9, 2018, 2:27 p.m.
Office Buzz Yakshe, pictured in a file photo from 2013. Yakshe was the Franklin Regional school resource officer. He arrested Alex Hribal, who is accused of injuring 20 students and a security guard in an April 9 knife attack at Franklin Regional High School.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Murrysville Star
Office Buzz Yakshe, pictured in a file photo from 2013. Yakshe was the Franklin Regional school resource officer. He arrested Alex Hribal, who is accused of injuring 20 students and a security guard in an April 9 knife attack at Franklin Regional High School.

A senator from McKeesport wants to pass a law that requires all schools to hire armed security guards and another that would create an 11-member panel to make ongoing school safety policy recommendations.

“Some schools have (had armed security officers) for years. I want to make it standardized and have a minimum school safety program for every district. If they want to go beyond the minimum, that's up to them,” Sen. Jim Brewster said.

The senator thinks he can get bi-partisan support before the state Senate's next session starts on March 19.

Brewster said a recent mass shooting of students at a Florida school that left 17 students dead and several others injured should prompt lawmakers to respond.

The panel, which Brewster calls a Statewide School Safety Panel, would oversee proposed changes to strategic plans and analyze existing safety procedures. The panel would also make policy suggestions and create plans to help school officials better protect students.

He said the panel would be made up of members of law enforcement, school officials and parents.

Under his proposed bill, school districts would be reimbursed by the state for every hired security guard.

“It would be based on enrollment, how large the school body is. It's an appropriate time to include school safety in the state's funding formula,” Brewster said.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325, dcarr@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

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