Pa. auditor general discusses findings of state's school safety task force

Students and adults alike consistently brought up mental health, not arming teachers

Molly Daly
June 27, 2018 - 8:16 pm
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© Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale held a phone news conference Wednesday to discuss the initial findings of the state's School Safety Task Force, created by Gov. Tom Wolf in the wake of the Parkland school shooting. 

About $60 million has been earmarked to strengthen security and other programs to help keep students and teachers safe.

DePasquale said there was a common theme at each of the task force's six regional meetings. 

"Every single student bringing up mental health, I would say was my biggest takeaway," he said, "and I guess you could say I'm surprised it was so consistent."

Students and mental health professionals also stressed the importance of having specially trained counselors available.

"Finding a way to get more of those people into the schools — whether it be through the county government or whether the school districts hiring — both are going to be options," DePasquale added.

One concept he said the task force will not recommend is arming teachers.

"There was pretty a strong consensus on having some law enforcement in the school, but it was also critical that they have the appropriate training for this type of work," he said.

The final report, which will spell out recommendations for communities, parents, students and state and local government, is expected before the start of the school year.