SUNBURY – Some Valley students got the opportunity to sit down with a state government figure on how to make schools safer from gun violence. State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale held a meeting with Shikellamy High School students Thursday to seek solutions to school safety. He says, “Certainly talked about mental health and the ways students that need help can get it. We talked about metal detectors, and also having a police officer or someone appropriately trained in the school for safety as well. Those were the main three points the students agreed on.”
This is comes after DePasquale announced in March he would make significant changes to how his department reviews safety at Pennsylvania schools. Principal Mike Egan says Depasquale reached out to school district administration to speak to students, “I thought it was great for the kids to see how these decisions are made from the state on down. These decisions aren’t easy ones. They’re complex; a lot of them comes down to funding. But it was nice to voice their opinions of what are needs are here to keep us safe.”
Shikellamy sophomore Kayleigh Lenner was part of the student panel. She says addressing mental health was a big topic saying, “People were talking about groups to help people with mental health. Some people may have things trapped deep down and they don’t have anyone to talk to. Maybe have more groups about that and talk about it more with more teachers to talk to.”
The Auditor General’s Bureau of School Audits has evaluated school safety infrastructure since the tragic 2006 West Nickel Mines School shooting in Lancaster. He’s also evaluated related policies and procedures.