Pa. auditor general to step up reviews of school security

'It is critical... that students feel safe'

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale stepped to the podium in Harrisburg on Thursday to announce changes to how his department evaluates school security.

The recent shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, sparked discussions and concerns among parents in Pennsylvania.

"It is critical, critical that students feel safe when they are in school," said DePasquale. "It's up to all of us to make this a top priority and not just the two weeks after there is a tragic shooting."

The auditor general added a safety component to school audits following the shooting that killed five children and injured five others at an Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster County in 2006.

Now, DePasquale said he'll be adding safety objectives to all school audits and sharing results of confidential safety audits with state and local police and the attorney general.

He plans to visit schools to get feedback.

"And when I do, I plan to meet with students, teachers, parents and law enforcement and school administrators to see exactly how that school is protecting its students and what we can learn from that school as to what can be done better across the commonwealth," DePasquale explained.

He said the most common safety recommendations involve issues with visitor procedures, staff training and practice drills. He said he wants to hear directly from students.

"I especially look forward to hearing the thoughts and ideas of students," said DePasquale. "Students should never have to worry about whether they'll be able to survive the school day unharmed."

A representative of the auditor general's office told 69 News that it plans to release more details regarding school security reviews in the near future.

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