After the shootings at a one-room Amish schoolhouse, key Pennsylvania legislators say it may be time to impose tight security measures on all schools, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Pennsylvania House and Senate education committees will look at whether the state should establish safety rules for all schools, such as keeping doors locked, hiring security officers, or making sure staff members are stationed at open entrances. Pennsylvania requires only that public and private schools with state licenses have an emergency plan. Schools decide what security measures to put in place, if any.
Nonpublic, nonlicensed schools are not required to even have an emergency plan. The West Nickel Mines Amish School, where 10 girls were shot on Monday, five fatally, had no security, nor a phone. One legislator said proposals to regulate such schools might be a tough sell to the parents and communities who like having schools free from state rules. Chuck Ardo, a spokesman for Gov. Ed Rendell, said new regulations were worth exploring but that it would be difficult to find one set of rules that worked for all schools, city, suburban, and rural. “Can you imagine a small school in a rural area that isn’t air-conditioned having to lock its doors on a warm spring day?” James Golden, chief safety official in the 178,000-student Philadelphia schools, said, “I think there ought to be minimum standards of security for our schools, looking at some of the basic things we do – weapon detection systems, cameras, monitoring technology.”