HARRISBURG, PA — The School Safety and Security Committee (Committee) established within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) by Act 44 of 2018 recently adopted criteria to guide the completion of school safety and security assessments.
Under Act 44, the Committee was tasked with establishing criteria to be used when conducting an assessment, which is a strategic evaluation of a school’s facilities and programs used to identify potential safety and security threats. Assessments are to include consideration of the safety and security of a school’s physical environment, climate and behavioral health environment, and related policies and trainings.
The school safety assessment criteria are a compilation of best practices and recommendations as developed by experts from across the Commonwealth. Physical assessment suggestions include general considerations on items such as landscaping and lighting; building access; parking and delivery processes; securing utilities; signage; key control and identification; visitor procedures; monitoring and surveillance; and emergency planning. The school climate and behavioral health assessment includes best practices as related to Student Assistance Program (SAP) teams; prevention, early identification and intervention of student behavioral health concerns; and school climate considerations.
“In developing these criteria, the Committee recognizes that every school is unique,” Chairman Charles Ramsey said. “The criteria are meant to be an aid to school officials with respect to what they can do to create a safer, more secure learning environment.”
In addition to the assessment criteria, the Committee also adopted initial registration criteria for individuals with knowledge and experience in matters of school safety and security that can conduct assessments. Over the next few weeks, PCCD will develop and launch an online website for persons interested in registering with the Committee as a vendor to conduct assessments. More information on this process will be provided online at PCCD’s School Safety and Security webpage at www.pccd.pa.gov/schoolsafety.
The criteria can be found online at PCCD’s School Safety and Security webpage at www.pccd.pa.gov/schoolsafety, along with additional information about Act 44’s requirements and related funding opportunities.
PCCD’s mission is to enhance the quality, coordination and planning within the criminal and juvenile justice systems, to facilitate the delivery of services to victims of crime, and to increase the safety of our communities.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Education
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