Public and private schools in Pennsylvania will be able to apply for grants to pay for armed security guards in the upcoming school year.
Gov. Tom Corbett has signed legislation boosting funds for the “Safe Schools” program and expanding the approved uses of the money.
It has long been slated for security enhancements and emergency planning for public schools, but that’s changed.
Sixty percent of the funds can now go into grants for armed guards, or resource officers, at both public and private schools, according to Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati.
“School districts can, at their discretion, any school district, hire a school resource officer whether they want that officer armed or unarmed,” he said Monday. “And really, this is in response to the school tragedies that we’re seeing all across the country.”
In the past, the program had $500,000 to dole out to schools for violence prevention efforts. Now, it will have $8.5 million at its disposal.
Private schools will not be able to apply for grants for any other security enhancement effort.
The state’s largest teachers union supports the bill.