The Voice of the Bellwood-Antis Student Body

The BluePrint

The Voice of the Bellwood-Antis Student Body

The BluePrint

The Voice of the Bellwood-Antis Student Body

The BluePrint

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Senate Bill could force schools to increase security

BASD+security+is+already+in+line+with+changes+proposed+by+the+PA+Senates+Education+Committee.
Jayden Bartlebaugh
BASD security is already in line with changes proposed by the PA Senate’s Education Committee.

In October, Sen. Mike Regan introduced Senate Bill 907 that would require schools to have armed security guards in each school building. It was approved by the Senate Education Committee and is now headed to the Senate for further consideration.

If the bill is passed, it would force school districts to take action in protecting students and using state-provided grants for things like providing armed officers in school buildings.

However, BA officials don’t anticipate major changes to the district’s safety protocols.

“I believe Bellwood is already in compliance [with the bill] because we already have armed school security personnel in each school building during the school day,” Officer Tim Mercer, who heads B-A’s security services, said.

The grants in question  are needed to provide armed security guards with proper training, including the Pennsylvania Lethal Weapon’s Act or Act 235. Act 235 requires 40 hours of training and 8 hours of recertification every 5 years. 

In Pennsylvania, there are approximately 500 school districts, of which only half have taken advantage of the $800 million in grant funds. These grants are to provide schools with the proper tools to protect students from outside harm.

In 2019, BASD installed keyless and wireless fobs in every classroom at each school building. The fobs were installed to improve security by having automatic locking doors. The school district received $620,000 dollars in grants that was used to provide the  school with these safety features.

Now, in 2023, the Pennsylvania Department of Education offers up to $75,000 in grant money for school police officers. These grants have been very useful for the school district enhancing security.

“I do think this amount helps our school improve security because we utilize it to fund a second school security officer and for other enhanced safety features such as cameras,” Officer Mercer said.

If this bill were to pass, it appears Bellwood will not be affected by its outlined changes. Currently, Bellwood has three security officers stationed at the middle school, high school and Myer’s Elementary. Alongside the guards, Bellwood has introduced state of the art doors and locking systems, along with trained greeters, and sophisticated cameras.

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