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Schools increase security after receiving state funding

Schools across Pennsylvania are receiving grant money to improve the safety and well-being of students.

DRUMS, Pa. — When students arrive at Drums Elementary and Middle school, they start their day walking through this metal detector.

Superintendent Dr. Brian T. Uplinger says this is the norm for all students in the Hazleton Area school district. And one of their many initiatives is to prioritize safety in their schools.

“It doesn't matter the age, it doesn't matter where they're going or what school they're attending, everyone has the right to be safe,” said Dr. Brian T. Uplinger, Hazleton Area school district Superintendent.

To promote safety across all schools in Pennsylvania, Senator Dave Argall worked with legislators to help public and private schools in Pennsylvania increase physical and mental support for students and staff.

School districts throughout Schuylkill county are receiving an additional $200 million to improve security and mental health resources. All in an effort to make schools in the area a safer place.

Something Senator Argall says is the most important part of the budget they just passed in Harrisburg.

“When anybody's son or daughter gets on the school bus, you want to make sure they get home safe. That's what this money's about,” Senator Dave Argall (R), 29th District.

Administrators in the Hazleton Area school district agree that having more security and mental health initiatives can make a big impact when preventing violence in schools.

“We are checking in on our students; we are making sure that their mental health is okay. We're also, while coming through the doors, they're also being checked to make sure they aren't bringing any weapons that could harm another student, or themselves, or even a staff member. So by having all of those layers in place, we are making every layer safe,” said Uplinger. 

With bipartisan support for the grant, Senator Argall says the money will give schools the ability to invest in security without taking money away from other essential programs.

“At one point, the Governor suggested $0 for this program a couple of years ago. And everyone, Republicans and Democrats, said we need to do a lot better, and we finally got it done in this budget,” Senator Argall said.

The Hazleton Area school district is now able to allocate more than half a million dollars to add additional security measures. While having resources to give members of the district the mental health resources they need.

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