SCHOOL SAFETY PLANS NO LONGER AN OPEN SECRET?

Senate Bill 1078 co-sponsored by Senator Robert M. Tomlinson and Senator Mike Regan passed unanimously on April 17, 2018. This legislation seeks to amend Pennsylvania’s open meetings law to permit discussions of school safety in executive session.  The proposed amendment permits an agency to “discuss, plan or review matters and records that are deemed necessary for emergency preparedness, protection of public safety and security of all property in a manner that if disclosed would be reasonably likely to jeopardize or threaten public safety or preparedness or public protection.”

The purpose of the bill is to balance the common sense concerns of protecting sensitive school security information with the public’s right to know.  As proposed by the bill, school districts will be permitted to discuss and review potential weaknesses in their current plans without making this information public thereby compromising a school’s safety efforts.  The bill has been referred to the House State Government committee.  The bill will be considered three times by the House and will require 102 votes for passage.  The bill it will become effective 60 days from its passage.

Our School Law team will continue to keep you updated on the progress of this bill.