Legislative committee studies school violence

State Representative Mary Jo Daley. – PHOTO/STATE LEGISLATURE

Freshman State Rep. Mary Jo Daley looks to both put an early stamp on her political career and increase the safety oversight of the state’s schools through her recent appointment to the Select Committee on School Safety.

“As the daily news reports too often remind us, schools are no longer immune from the violence that plagues other parts of society,” Daley said. “I embrace this assignment with great enthusiasm, knowing that when our work is done, it means fewer families will endure heavy hearts from unexpected tragedies.”

Representative Gary Day in January introduced the legislation calling for the formation of the select committee.

“My proposal represents a thoughtful approach to addressing current concerns regarding school safety and security,” Day said at the time. “Formation of a select committee on school safety and security will allow the House of Representatives to examine and understand thoroughly the current status of school security policies and procedures and relevant state law before new school safety legislation is proposed.”

The committee will conduct a thorough study and review of school safety and security procedures, and will have the authority to call witnesses and subpoena records; the committee will release its findings and recommendations by September.

According to Daley’s office, the committee will specifically analyze those procedures and policies in all public and nonpublic schools and higher education institutions, give a top-down assessment of state laws and regulations as they relate to school safety and security and create a better method of early detection of violent perpetrators.

Although a freshman state representative, Daley has relatable experience in both the political and private realms. Prior to last year’s election, Daley served as Narberth Borough Councilor from 1992-2011. Safety and health has been at the front of Daley’s career outside of politics, with health-related stops at University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Dermatology, along with a long stay at Upenn’s Center for Research on Production and Women’s Health.

Daley also serves as secretary of the House Health Committee.

With this appointment, Daley will join a team that is looking to fully understand the current status of school security and procedures before the body proposes any new school safety legislation.

“Students can only learn effectively in a safe and secure environment and if there is any way we can reduce school violence, we need to find and implement that idea,” Daley said. “I thank House Speaker Sam Smith and House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody for appointing me to this important committee, and plan to work tirelessly to see out mission through to completion.”

 

Contact staff writer Damon C. Williams at (215) 893-5745 or dwilliams@phillytrib.com.

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