On Monday, August 27th, the PA School Safety Task Force released its report at a press conference in Harrisburg. The report is the culmination of information gathering at six regional listening sessions held since March of this year. Governor Tom Wolf and PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale co-chaired the task force. On Monday, DePasquale stressed the need for more mental health support for students in schools, physical improvements in buildings (e.g., security cameras, door locks for classrooms, and metal detectors), trained armed professionals in schools (not to include teachers), and better means for information sharing between schools and local and state agencies such as law enforcement and social services.
The report also stressed the importance of adequate staffing in the area of pupil services. For example, the report stated that, as of the 2016-17 school year, the average student to school nurse ratio in PA schools was 809:1, the average student to counselor ratio was 387:1, and the average student to school psychologist ratio was 1,164:1. The National Association of School Nurses recommends a student to nurse ratio of 750:1, the American School Counselor Association recommends a student to counselor ratio of 250:1, and the National Association of School Psychologists recommends a ratio of 1,000:1.
The report can be viewed in its entirety at https://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/20180827-Gov-Office-School-Safety-Report-2018.pdf or on the PAPSA website by going to the heading “Resources” and its drop-down “Downloads”.