Auditor General Eugene DePasquale applauded the Uniontown Area School District for using the results of his latest audit to improve school safety plans.
“Because of this audit, Uniontown has taken action to make sure students can learn in a safer environment,” DePasquale said. “This should be the goal for school districts all across Pennsylvania.”
The audit covers July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2017.
Until November 2016, the district had not conducted a risk and vulnerability assessment, a free service available to schools from the State Police that offers recommendations to improve security. The district also lacked sufficient and ongoing planning for disaster response and emergency preparedness as required by the Emergency Management Services Code.
The audit found the district did not have standard written procedures in place for teachers, administrators and counselors to follow up on how to recognize and intervene in bullying situations.
In their response, district officials stated they are implementing the audit’s recommendations, including the creation of a comprehensive master safety plan.
A year ago, the school district worked with law enforcement after a student reported hearing another student threaten violence. DePasquale commended the district for its prompt action.
“District officials acted quickly when a student reported a 14-year-old classmate who spoke about shooting people at school,” DePasquale said. “I applaud the student for speaking up and district officials for promptly alerting law enforcement, actions which may have prevented a tragedy.
“This was one of the first audits conducted under the ramped-up school safety initiatives I instituted last year,” DePasquale said, noting that he and Gov. Tom Wolf co-chaired a School Safety Task Force, holding meetings across the state to listen to students, staff, administrators, law enforcement experts and others about how to best protect students.
The School Safety Task Force final report offers 32 recommendations for a variety of local and state officials, as well as community members, to help keep students safer in school.
“I will continue to focus on this issue to help make our schools safer for students, teachers and staff,” DePasquale said.
The Uniontown Area School District audit is available online at www.PaAuditor.gov.