DeLuca bill would increase frequency of school safety drills

HARRISBURG, April 26 – Schools throughout the commonwealth would hold school safety drills as frequently as fire drills under a bill recently introduced by Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny.

“I introduced this bill because the realities of today’s world demand that our schools—and the students and staff in them—be as prepared as possible for an attack we hope will never come,” DeLuca said. “Just as we recognize that preparedness and training are key components of surviving a fire or other building disaster, we need to ensure that students, teachers and other school staff are also prepared to face the possibility of an armed attack.”

Currently, Pennsylvania schools are required to have fire drills at least once per month. DeLuca’s H.B. 2259 would require schools to alternate safety drills with fire drills on a monthly basis.

Pennsylvania recently enacted a law requiring schools to have one safety drill per school year. DeLuca said that while this is a good start, it isn’t sufficient to train students, teachers and administrators how to deal with the possibility of a sudden, violent incident.

“Having these drills every other month would help ensure that if trouble strikes, everyone will know his or her role,” DeLuca said. “My hope is that it would also help students, teachers and other staff feel empowered, knowing that they are practicing a plan of action. I’m encouraging all of my colleagues to support this bill so that we can move forward with more frequent drills as soon as possible.”

The bill was recently referred to the House Education Committee for review.