HARRISBURG -- State Rep. Greg Lucas (R-Erie/Crawford) today is encouraging local school districts to apply for funding through a state program that provides money so that schools can hire and pay retired police officers to protect students.
“Having trained and qualified school police officers on duty could mean the difference between life and death for our students,” Lucas said. “The school police officers’ presence may actually deter potential violence against our students.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Office for Safe Schools is currently accepting applications for Safe Schools Targeted Grants. Three different grants are available.
Schools may apply for up to $25,000 in funding for programs that address school violence, such as conflict resolution or dispute management programs or the development of a student code of conduct.
Schools also may apply for up to $60,000 to fund a school resource office or $40,000 for a school police officer to protect students. Retired federal agents and retired state, municipal or military police officers often serve as school police officers.
A third grant program is available to municipalities, which may apply for funding to have a school resource officer assigned to a nonpublic school.
“When it comes to retired police officers in our schools, I would rather have them and not need them instead of needing them and not having them,” Lucas said. “The Commonwealth is accepting applications for these grants and I encourage local schools to strongly consider submitting the necessary paperwork.”
In January, Lucas introduced the School Personnel Right to Carry Act (House Bill 122), which would empower trained and qualified school professionals to carry firearms on the job to protect themselves and students. The bill was referred to the House Education Committee where it is still under consideration.