Are you curious about how Pennsylvania is ensuring the safety and security of its students? Look no further than PA Act 44! This groundbreaking legislation, signed into law in 2018 by Governor Wolf, established a School Safety and Security Committee tasked with setting standards for school safety assessments and awarding grants to school districts across the state.
Now, let’s dive into the top three compliance items every Pennsylvania school district needs to know to stay on track with PA Act 44. With these key takeaways, you’ll be able to ensure your school is meeting the standards set forth by the Committee and keeping your students safe and secure. So, let’s get started!
#1 Top 3 PA Act 44 Compliance Items — School Safety Coordinators
In accordance with Act 44, school administrators were required to appoint a safety and security coordinator by August 31, 2018. This coordinator oversees School Police Officers, School Resource Officers, and School Security Guards, making sure they are equipped to handle any situation that may arise.
But their duties don’t stop there. The safety and security coordinator is also responsible for reviewing policies and procedures to ensure compliance with Federal and State laws, as well as conducting annual reporting requirements. And that’s not all – they coordinate school facility tours for local law enforcement agencies and emergency responders, building strong relationships to enhance school safety even further.
In short, the safety and security coordinator is a vital member of the school community, serving as the watchful eye over everything related to safety and security.
#2 Top 3 PA Act 44 Compliance Items — Mandatory Training
The Act mandates that all school employees receive a minimum of three hours of training every five years. The training can be delivered through the Internet or other distance communication systems, making it easily accessible and convenient for educators who have busy schedules.
The training is not only essential for ensuring the safety and security of our students, but it also counts towards continuing professional education requirements.
The law also ensures that the training provided is of high quality by requiring approval from the Department of Education in consultation with the Committee. This helps to ensure that educators receive up-to-date information and techniques that are effective in keeping students safe. (Pennsylvania School Boards Association).
#3 Top 3 PA Act 44 Compliance Items – School Police Officers and School Resource Officers
The Public School Code now recognizes three distinct categories of school security personnel: School Police Officers (SPOs), School Resource Officers (SROs), and School Security Guards (SSGs).
However, the School Code identifies only two types of school security personnel that may be designated to carry a firearm within the scope of their employment with the school entity: SPOs and SROs.
“While the School Code does recognize school security guards as a type of school security official, the School Code vests school security guards with six specific duties, none of which include the authority to carry a firearm. As such, school security guards who are employed by school entities—either as employees or independent contractors—are not authorized to possess a firearm within the scope of that employment. Please note that SPOs and SROs who are authorized to carry a firearm must, prior to commencing their duties, successfully complete specific training,” (Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission).
School entities and nonpublic schools are permitted to contract with individuals who are retired federal agents or retired state, municipal or military police officers or sheriffs to provide school police and security services.
The individuals must be considered independent contractors and must be compensated on an hourly basis. The school entity must ensure that independent contractors comply with all training and criminal background check requirements (PSBA).
LARGO Consulting Services is Compliant with PA Act 44
LARGO Consulting Services, LLC was named an Approved School Safety and Security Assessment Provider in February 2019 and we are happy to answer any questions about compliance that your school leaders have.
LARGO Consulting Services, LLC is committed to providing safe and secure environments where you live, work, study, and play. For more information about LARGO Secure Schools, please contact LARGO Consulting Services, LLC online or call 833-LARGOCS. We also invite you to connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.