‘Persistently Dangerous’ Penn. Schools to Undergo School Safety Reviews

HARRISBURG, Pa.—Pennsylvania schools designated as “persistently dangerous schools” will undergo school safety and climate reviews announced Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald L. Zahorchak and State Board of Education Chair Joseph M. Torsella. Other school with significant school safety needs will also be apart of the reviews.

State standards define a persistently dangerous school as any public elementary, secondary or charter school that has a set number or percentage of dangerous incidents in relation to student enrollment.

Safe Havens International Inc., a nationally-recognized nonprofit school safety center headed by Campus Safety columnist Mike Dorn, will conduct the reviews in school buildings located in the School District of Philadelphia and the Harrisburg City School District. The center will review each school’s safety, security and crisis plans; conduct interviews with selected stakeholders; and evaluate the security policies in each building. Following the reviews, Safe Havens will provide detailed, building-level recommendations to ensure a safe and orderly educational experience for the students attending these schools.

“Safe Havens demonstrated the required experience in student supervision and school climate to assist schools in developing sustainable safety, security and emergency preparedness strategies,” said Zahorchak. “They will provide information on how each school can improve not only its physical security, but also the overall positive climate in the school and the surrounding community.”

Earlier this year, Zahorchak and Torsella joined other state education leaders in announcing a multi-faceted effort to improve school safety. The plan calls for providing schools with better tools to monitor school safety and proven models to create an environment of respect, social connectedness and community engagement.

The Center for Safe Schools supports schools, local agencies and parents in developing and practicing emergency management and crisis response plans, creating positive school environments, implementing evidence-based programs and institutionalizing proactive safety measures in partnership with law enforcement and other community entities to address local needs.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s school safety initiatives, visit the Department of Education online at www.education.state.pa.us.


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