Congressman Joyce joins national movement to improve school safety


"We live in a culture that's getting more dangerous each day, so it's time to take a stand."

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa. (WDVM) — There have been 22 mass shootings across the country in 2019 alone, and local law enforcement and government officials are taking a stand to keep students safe in schools.

Students across the country from pre-school to college level are returning to their classes. According to the Department of Homeland Security, there seems to be a growing national concern for student’s lives.

“Society is becoming more and more violent every single day and it seems so this issue isn’t going away any time soon,” said DOH Security Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection Brian Harrell. “So, for us to really focus on risk reduction, bringing some of those industry best practices to bare and really have that uncomfortable conversation with the school district, with the teachers, with the administrators, with the students is important.”

U.S. Congressman John Joyce visited Franklin County Tuesday to hold a panel discussion with local law enforcement and educators about how to improve school safety, so parents won’t ever have to wonder if their child will make it home from school alive.

“We saw from the superintendents that they do not have their heads in the sand that they know that we have to be available, understanding and most importantly having to be prepared,” said Joyce.

Local law enforcement and school representatives filled the panel seats and discussed the possibility of implementing facial recognition technology, forming a threat team to observe student’s behaviors and increasing officer placement in schools.

“I understand that it is controversial but you have to weigh, it’s a risk-reward type situation,” said Chambersburg Police Department Chief Ron Camacho. “Life is changed, they’re not ostriches, they see it every day, so if they want to use that technology, accept it so we can use it to keep your kid safe.”

Future panels will be held to finalize decisions

“Keeping our kids, staff and community is the top priority for us,” said Chambersburg Area Superintendent Dion Betts. “Today will hopefully change the lives of not only our school system but hopefully the nation.”

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