(WBRE/WYOU-TV) School Security is the topic of this Sunday’s Newsmakers. 

Hosts Jayne Ann Bugda and Andy Mehalshick will take a closer look at the efforts to protect students, teachers, and staff.   They will be joined by State Senator Lisa Baker, Ed Harry, Chief of the Hazleton Area School District Police Force,  Dan Gentile, Student Fraud Enforcement Investigator for the Hazleton Area School District, and Joe Gorham, Superintendent of the Crestwood School District.

    The panel will discuss the everyday challenges facing schools across the Commonwealth when dealing with school security.  Gentile will talk about his position which is the first in the state investigating residencies of students.   Senator Baker will discuss how lawmakers are working to keep schools safe and will discuss the bills she is working on to ensure school safety.

   Newsmakers will air Sunday, September 9 at 6:30 am on WYOU and at 11:30 am on WBRE.

Click Here to Read the PA School Safety Report 2018

School Safety Legislation

Legislation Signed into Law

* Act 39 of 2018

o SB 35 (Hutchinson) – Provides for mandatory school security drills

o SB 1078 (Regan/Tomlinson) – Allows school entities to hold executive sessions to plan, review or discuss matters related to school safety

* Act 44 of 2018

o SB 1136 (Brooks) – Provides that a school located in a municipality with no municipal police department may enter into a cooperative police service agreement with a municipality providing part-time police coverage that is located in an adjacent municipality

o SB 1142 (Browne/Martin/Hughes) – Safe2Say Hotline to report threats

o *SB 1211 (Regan) – Creates a School Safety & Security Committee at PCCD to oversee required school assessments, customizable school safety plans, and safety and security training

o SB 1213 (Langerholc/McGarrigle) – Increase the ability for school districts to hire professionals to focus on students’ mental health (social workers, school psychologists, or guidance counselors)

o SB 1218 (Browne/McGarrigle) – Requires that school entities provide their employees with training on school safety and security (employees shall complete a minimum of 3 hours every 5 years)

*Parts of Senate Bill 1211 were incorporated into the legislation ultimately signed into law as Act 44 of 2018. Those that were not are still up for consideration as pending legislation.

Senator Baker – SB 1241

* Integral part of school is improved delivery of behavioral health services

* Expands a successful model currently operating in NEPA

* Multidisciplinary teams integrated within the schools to provide individual, family or group therapies, behavioral case management, crisis intervention and other services

Meet our Guests

Senator Lisa Baker is serving her third term representing the 20th Senatorial District, which includes substantial parts of Luzerne and Susquehanna counties and all of Pike, Wayne, and Wyoming counties.

She is noted for her accessibility in the district, for her practical and reasonable approach to problem-solving, and for her bipartisan work on constructive legislation.  Numerous community organizations and projects have benefitted from her concerted advocacy, including business development and job creation efforts, library expansions, senior housing initiatives, and recreation programs. Working with county and municipal officials, she has helped to secure essential funding for sewer and water system upgrades, transportation priorities, and intergovernmental cooperation efforts.

This session is her first chairing the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, which has wide-ranging jurisdiction over significant programs and services.

Senator Baker also serves as a member of the following committees: Aging and Youth, Appropriations, Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness. These assignments give her the chance to work in-depth on many of the concerns expressed by individuals and groups in the district, to push forward on reform and cost-efficiency measures, and to shape programs opening the door for opportunities that residents are seeking.

She is a graduate of Dallas High School and Shippensburg University, where she received a B.A. in Government Administration.  She resides in Lehman Township, Luzerne County, with her husband Gary.  They have one son, Carson, and one grandson, Bryce.

Ed Harry-  is the Current Police Chief/Director of Security and School Police Services for Hazleton Area School District (2 ½ years)

He is the for former Police Chief for Borough of Macungie a position he held for 10 years

Retired from Hazleton Police Department were he  served as Detective, Lieutenant, and Police Chief.

3 years active duty US Army.

Joe Gorham- Is the Superintendent of the Crestwood School District.  Before the Crestwood School District he served a  District Elementary Principal, Northwest Area School District and High School Principal, Northwest Area School District.  Gorham was a Secondary English Teacher, Hanover Area School District, as well as Junior High School Track Coach and Communications Instructor, Plains Alternative Learning Center.  Gorham received his  Superintendent Letter from  Marywood University. He earned an M.S. Administration, Wilkes University, M.S. Educational Strategies, Wilkes University, and a B.A.  Communications, Ithaca College