May. 07, 2019

HARRISBURG – Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny) today introduced two pieces of legislation to strengthen safety in the Commonwealth’s public schools.

“As a member of the School Safety and Security Committee under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, I have been working tirelessly to identify ways to improve school safety,” Ortitay said.

House Bill 1423 would require each public school district to create at least one multi-disciplinary threat assessment team to identify students in distress before their behavior escalates to a level that raises concerns about safety. These teams would build on the Safe2Say Something Program that was created under Act 44 of 2018. This law developed a tip line that allows students, teachers and community residents to anonymously report any unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent or criminal activities in schools. Ortitay’s legislation also would require the School Safety and Security Committee to create a threat assessment taskforce to support the development of the school district teams.

House Bill 1422 would create the School Grounds Self-Defense Training Program to provide violent intruder and active shooter training for school district employees. In addition, up to $5,000 grants per building would be available for school districts to fund this training. The Pennsylvania Department of Education would designate firms offering these types of training.

“Students today are under enormous pressure,” Ortitay said. “I am hopeful these multi-disciplinary teams will help students who are in need of assistance. By bringing together a variety of professionals, schools will be able to take a holistic approach to help. It is vital that we look at the child academically, socially and emotionally.”

The 46th Legislative District includes Collier and South Fayette townships and Bridgeville, Heidelberg, McDonald and Oakdale boroughs in Allegheny County. It also encompasses Canton, Cecil, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson and Smith townships, and Burgettstown, McDonald and Midway boroughs in Washington County.

Representative Jason Ortitay
46th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tracy Polovick
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