A Pennsylvania State Representative is proposing legislation in the state that requires school districts to conduct emergency lockdown drills.
State Rep. Sid Kavulich said: “Schools have always worked for the safety of their students. Fire drills have been going on forever, but in this day and age, Rep. Hackett and I feel we need to be prepared for a different sort of threat.”
Current law requires schools to have emergency management plans in place and conduct monthly fire drills; however, there is no requirement that the plans be rehearsed or ensure that faculty, staff and students are prepared in emergency scenarios.
“This is a bipartisan effort to make sure our students, teachers and administrators are fully aware of what to do if an emergency strikes. We practice fire drills and we should practice emergency lockdowns to ensure the safety of those who are a part of our educational system,” Kavulich said.
“Pennsylvania is like a time-bomb ticking,” Rep. Hackett stated during a Lackawanna County press conference announcing the proposed legislation. “What I mean is that there is currently a lack of training for our teachers and our students as to how to respond in an emergency. Compared to other states, Pennsylvania is behind the time.”
According to Hackett, students are 35 percent more likely to be part of a violent incident in schools than an active fire during the school day.
“Less than one percent of incidents involve fire in a schools acroos the state, but our schools are mandated to hold fire drills once a month,” he added.
Kavuilich and Hackett are proposing to reduce the number of required fire drills and replace them with more “effective” lockdown drills.