• Local lawmaker proposing new legislation to improve school safety


    A local lawmaker is proposing new legislation in Harrisburg to improve school safety. 

    State Rep. Jason Ortitay's legislation calls for the creation of special threat-assessment teams at every school district.

    "I had someone tell me this is nothing more than a witch hunt piece of legislation," Rep. Ortitay told us. "That's not the goal of this.  We're not sending anyone out to attack kids. We are just trying to help."

    Rep. Ortitay told us Virginia has been doing this for about five years and hasn't had a major incident since it was implemented. 


    Right now, one local school is leading the way in Pennsylvania. The South Fayette School District plans to launch a threat-assessment team this fall. The team will be made up of teachers, administrators, school resource officers, counselors and possibly even high school students.

    "I think the key is looking at prevention and doing more with mental health," Superintendent Kenneth Lockette told us. "It's just to be more aware, not to profile, not to be on a witch hunt, but to be more aware of how to get people help."

    Rep. Ortitay expressed similar sentiments about the plan.

    "We are not looking to throw people in jail or we are not looking to discipline people," he told Target 11. "We are just trying to be pro-active about the situation and, again, get people help."


    Ortitay also proposed legislation to improve school security cameras. While most schools already have cameras, the representative said his team has noticed a potential problem.

    "We are finding that no one is watching these livestreams," he said.  "They're just being fed into a stream and nobody is there."

    The bill would require all security cameras to be outfitted with motion sensors that would send out an immediate notification.

    "What I wanted them to do is wire it to the police station so if something did go off, they could get there as quickly as possible," he told us.

    South Fayette has already started taking those steps, too.

    "It's unfortunate that these are the things that we have to spend our time planning for, but it's at this point a necessary evil for us," Superintendent Lockette said.



    Next Up: