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Working To Prevent Tragedies In Schools

October 13, 2018

Editor: Following the tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, I asked the educators and support professionals who belong to the Pennsylvania State Education Association to send me their ideas for making our schools safer. Several of our members said student wellness must be a priority. That means investing in more school counselors, school psychologists, social workers, school nurses, and other specialists. There are students in every school who struggle with physical and emotional health and need our support and encouragement. Research shows that when a student has a meaningful connection with at least one adult in school, that student is better able to navigate challenges and solve problems. As Pennsylvania State Education Association president, I shared nearly 1,000 ideas from our members with Gov. Wolf and state lawmakers. Many of the best suggestions were incorporated into a bipartisan school safety law passed in June that includes $60 million in grants for a menu of security, prevention, and counseling programs. We have made a tremendous amount of progress in a short period of time, but more work remains to be done. We appreciate that elected leaders from both parties are listening to educators so that together we can take the necessary steps to prevent tragedies in our schools before they happen. Dolores McCracken President Pennsylvania State Education Association HARRISBURG

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