Miller, legislators fight for professional supports for students that go beyond physical safety infrastructure improvements

HARRISBURG, May 8 – State Rep. Dan Miller, D-Allegheny, today joined a number of his fellow lawmakers to introduce a legislative plan that calls for investment in school student supports and programs that go beyond physical safety improvements. 

Dubbed “The Beyond Safe Schools: Safe and Supportive Schools,” the legislative package calls for depression screen standardization, more school counselors, psychologists and social workers, mental health and disability curriculum improvements, and more training for security personnel on related topics, amongst other important items. 

“Last year we enacted legislation that provided some money to school districts with an eye primarily towards physical safety enhancements. And while that is critical, we have not done enough to reverse the shredding of professional support positions due to the cuts in educational funding during the previous administration, nor have we have done enough to update our programs in a manner that decreases stigma and supports the student,” Miller said. “Our proposals, which we hope to find bipartisan support for, recognizes that no education environment is complete in today’s times without the personal connections, professionals and programs that positively impact kids. And we need these services available to every student, in every grade, and in every district.”  

By investing in students, he said, the Beyond Safe Schools: Safe and Supportive Schools plan can improve student outcomes and learning, decrease suspensions and expulsions, hopefully minimize harm, and over the long haul, save money. 

These bills expand upon last term’s bipartisan $60 million investment in safety infrastructure that was mostly spend on physical items like security guards, metal detectors and surveillance cameras, but also gave students a new way to report dangerous behavior to the district and the state. 

The package is part of House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing health care access, creating quality schools, and providing training for jobs in a fair economy. Additional information about the plan is available at www.plan4pa.com.

Additional information about the Beyond Safe Schools package is available at: www.pahouse.com/BeyondSafeSchools.