State Rep. Seth Grove expects a new House committee focusing on school safety to carry some weight with its recommendations.
Grove, R-Dover, and state Rep. Mike Regan, R-Dillsburg, were appointed to the newly formed committee, which will come up with proposals to improve school safety and security.
Grove said that since it's a special Select Committee, and not a regular House Committee, their work will be much more narrowly focused, and the bipartisan committee is smaller.
"It sets it up for penetrating the partisanship," Grove said.
Grove said he's unsure exactly what the
end result of the committee's work will be, other than the committee will take a comprehensive look at all aspects of school security, from armed officers in schools to budgetary concerns. A report is expected this fall to the House.
Timing: The need for a special committee just on school safety reflects the times, he said.
"I think with the aftermath of Newtown; the kids were so young" compared to other school shootings, such as Columbine, he said. "I think it had a different impact on the psyche of America, especially policy makers."
That emotional impact also has hit school districts, he said.
Since they share a desire to increase security, Grove said he believes school officials will be more amenable than usual when it comes to the state handing down new requirements and laws.
State school board and teacher organizations are expected to be involved in discussions.
Cost: "I think most school districts realize this is a very important topic right now," he said, while acknowledging districts will be concerned about how to pay for any security mandates.
Regan, a former U.S. marshal with the Department of Justice, said he's eager to get involved with the committee.
"I think it would be great if out of this committee came some proposed bills," he said.
Regan already has proposed a school security bill related to having armed officers in schools. He said cost shouldn't be a primary concern when it comes to school safety.
The proposal involves hiring a retired, armed police officer for every school, and having them conduct security checks and screen visitors.
"We have to look at what the cost is if we do not do anything," Regan said of preventing school shootings.
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