Op-Ed: Armed School Security a Must for Protecting Students

By: Pennsylvania Senator Mike Regan

Ten years ago, as a member of the House of Representatives, I introduced my first piece of school safety legislation. I was brand new to the legislature, and my proposal came in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.  The goal of that legislation was to ensure the presence of at least one armed security officer at each school building.

Now, ten years later, after hundreds of more shootings on school campuses, we have witnessed yet another tragedy, now in Nashville, where three young children and three adults were senselessly killed because an individual with mental health problems was able to gain access to a school building.

This should not and cannot continue to be allowed to happen.

In Pennsylvania, we have taken steps to implement and improve school security measures, but if we have learned anything with each school shooting, it is that every school must be prepared for the worst and to do that, they must meet a certain level of security mandated across the Commonwealth.

Over the last ten years, I have led the charge in the Senate on the issue of school safety. Legislation that I sponsored created a School Safety Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and a School Safety and Security Grant Program to provide schools the financial resources to hire school police or resource officers and to purchase equipment or make physical changes to their buildings in order to keep their schools safe and secure.

However, with each tragic attack on a school, I am reminded of the pushback I faced on my original proposal to require armed security. 

Superintendents and school boards demanded local control of such decisions, and some continue to be resistant to the concept of having armed security.  This defies commonsense, especially when we have industry experts stating that such officers are the first step schools should take to prevent a tragedy like those that continue to happen needlessly across our country.

The sad truth is that individuals are now specifically targeting schools – and especially schools they know are easily accessible and not well-secured. Early reports out of Nashville indicate that the shooter considered targeting another school but was deterred by the level of security there.

The idyllic times of our schools being a safe haven for kids where doors could be propped open and visitors could freely come and go are in the past.  Like in so many scenarios, the wrongdoing of others now dictates how the rest of us must operate in our daily lives.

Ensuring our students are fully protected while they are at school needs to be a top priority.  That is why I am renewing my call for requiring every school to have armed officers on site, who are not only there in case of emergency but can also serve as trusted resources for students and be the eyes and ears on the ground to alert proper authorities to changes in behavior.

My perspective on this issue comes from my career in the U.S. Marshal Service. Part of my responsibilities was to secure federal buildings. I have also relied on other credentialed experts in the field of school and building security as I crafted legislative proposals over the years, and they have all said with uniformity that the hiring of trained and vetted armed officers should be every school’s first step when implementing security measures. But still, many have not.

As we are currently reviewing the governor’s proposed 2023-2024 budget, I am cognizant that funding is always an issue for our schools, especially when another mandate is proposed in Harrisburg.

Thanks to the School Safety and Security Grant Program, money has been available to schools to hire armed officers and to harden points of entry. And I remain committed to ensuring the continuation of that funding source in the 2023-2024 budget.  Every year since the program’s creation, my top budgetary ask has been the maintenance and increase of that line item, which began at $60 million.  Last year’s budget saw a record $95 million for physical school safety and another $95 million for school-based mental health, which goes hand-in-hand when addressing the safety of students.

Also with last year’s funding increase came a requirement that schools use funds to meet Tier 1 Baseline Criteria within a three-tiered system before being able to seek funding for additional security measures.

Many of our schools have already taken the necessary steps to implement both baseline criteria, which includes employing school security – whether it be School Police Officers, School Resource Officers, or School Security Guards – but the time has come for all to recognize that this is a must in today’s world.

Let’s not allow another tragedy to occur or another ten years to pass by without taking necessary action. The lives of our young people – and their bright futures – depend on it.

Senator Mike Regan represents Pennsylvania’s 31st Senatorial District covering parts of Cumberland and York Counties.

CONTACT: Bruce McLanahan, 717-787-8524

Budget Hearing Q&A: State Police

Senator Mike Regan questions State Police Commissioner Christopher Paris.

Regan Concerned about Price Tag of Governor’s Budget Proposal

HARRISBURG – Following the governor’s budget address today in Harrisburg during a joint session of the state Senate and House, Sen. Mike Regan (R-31) said he’s concerned about the overall price tag of the proposal.

“My Senate Republican colleagues and I worked hard the past few years to put the commonwealth in a better financial position,” Regan said. “The governor’s proposal would undo a lot of our work by spending more money than the state expects to collect. When government spends beyond its means, the result is deficits, future cuts to important programs or tax hikes. I don’t want to see any of those happen in Pennsylvania.”

While some of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s proposals were in line with Regan’s priorities, others were far afield.

One area where Regan believes Shapiro and he can find common ground is on the importance of supporting state and local law enforcement. Shapiro’s proposed budget calls for four new cadet classes of the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) next year.

“I’ve been a longtime supporter of law enforcement and the need to increase the state police complement,” said Regan, who chairs the Senate Law and Justice Committee and was a U.S. Marshal before joining the General Assembly. “The state police serve as the primary source of law enforcement in some communities and they’re the only thing standing between dangerous criminals and those residents.”

Regan also sees a common interest in providing sustainable funding to support the state police. Shapiro proposed creating an independent fund for the PSP during the next five years. Regan supports the concept of moving PSP funding out of the Motor License Fund, but says the timeline and the new funding source are up for debate. Regan previously supported funding the state police entirely from the state budget.

Regan said funding for school safety and security measures is one of his top priorities entering the budget season.

“Parents shouldn’t have to fear sending their children to school each day and school district boundaries shouldn’t impact whether one school is safer than the next,” Regan said. “The commonwealth must continue to provide funding to support school resource officers and other measures that enhance the safety of students and teachers.”

Regan also supports the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC), which provides tax cuts for businesses that donate money to support local schools and students. Shapiro’s budget would not increase the amount of money available through that program.

More information about Regan is available by visiting his website at www.SenatorMikeReganPa.com.


MEDIA CONTACT: Bruce McLanahan

Regan Calls on Liquor Board Chairman to Halt 4% Price Increase at Wednesday’s Meeting

HARRISBURG – State Senate Law and Justice Committee Chairman Mike Regan (R-31, Cumberland and York counties) today sent a letter to Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) Chairman Tim Holden calling on him to refrain at a meeting on Wednesday from pushing through a last-minute, surprise 4% price increase on more than 3,000 popular wine and spirits products in Pennsylvania.

“I am very troubled by the lack of transparency and timing of the announcement,” Regan said in the letter, noting the sun is setting on the administration of outgoing Gov. Tom Wolf, and legislators and the public were given very little warning about the potential price hike.

Wolf’s tenure as governor will end on Jan. 17, less than a week after the PLCB meeting tomorrow.

Regan noted other times he and his colleagues have called on the board to practice more transparency, including when it closed state liquor stores and rationed products.

“Even after the repeated requests for more transparency, the PLCB continues to operate and make decisions behind closed doors,” Regan said in his letter.

The PLCB is scheduled to meet and consider the 4% price hike on Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Room 117 of the PLCB Headquarters in the Northwest Office Building, Harrisburg.

Meetings are open for in-person attendance and are broadcast online via Microsoft Teams. Residents also can attend over the phone by dialing 267-332-8737 and entering the code 240 679 670.

Regan’s full letter is available here.


MEDIA CONTACT: Bruce McLanahan



Regan Reappointed Chairman of Senate Law and Justice Committee

HARRISBURG –Senator Mike Regan (R-31, Cumberland and York Counties) today was reappointed by Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39) to serve as Chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee for the 2023-2024 legislative session.

The Senate Law and Justice Committee, which Regan has served as chairman of for the last two years, oversees issues pertaining to the Pennsylvania State Police, other law enforcement matters, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, as well as matters involving the Office of Medical Marijuana.

“I am honored to have been reappointed chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee and am grateful that Senator Ward has confidence in my ability to lead this important committee,” Regan said. “As a former U.S. Marshal, one of my top legislative priorities is ensuring our law enforcement officers are protected and have the resources they need to fully do their jobs.  I have also been a champion of medical marijuana since my time in the House of Representatives, and it is important that we keep working to improve our medical program for patients and operators. The same goes for our state-run liquor system, which should be focused on consumer access to in-demand products rather than price hikes for the purpose of increasing the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s revenue coffers.”

Regan additionally was reappointed as vice chairman of the Local Government Committee and as a sitting member on the following committees: Community, Economic & Recreational Development; Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure; Judiciary; and Rules and Executive Nominations.


MEDIA CONTACT: Bruce McLanahan

Regan Nominates and Senate Confirms Constituent as New Senate Secretary and Parliamentarian

HARRISBURG – State Sen. Mike Regan (R-31) today nominated and the Senate confirmed local resident Michael Gerdes to serve as the new Senate Secretary and Parliamentarian. Since November, Gerdes has held the position in an interim capacity.

“I was honored to nominate Mike Gerdes to serve in this important and prestigious position,” Regan said. “I believe he will be a great asset to the Senate and the Commonwealth.”

The Senate Secretary and Parliamentarian makes important determinations related to the chamber’s rules and parliamentary procedures, as well as the legislative process.

Gerdes is a graduate of Trinity High School in Camp Hill and Georgetown University Law Center.

He first began serving the Commonwealth in 2002 in the Pennsylvania Department of State Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs. He later served as the deputy attorney general and then as a senior deputy attorney general in the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Since joining the Senate staff in 2015, he has served as counsel to the previous two Senate majority leaders, advising them on Senate rules and parliamentary procedures.

“Mike Gerdes undoubtedly has the experience and knowledge to be the Senate Secretary,” Regan said. “But he also has the demeanor and professionalism for this position, which serves both the Republican and Democratic caucuses equally. 

Gerdes was joined in the Senate today by his wife, Kelly, and their two daughters, Sarah and Amanda.

VIDEO: Regan nominates local resident to serve as Senate secretary and parliamentarian.


CONTACT: Bruce McLanahan, 717-787-8524

New maps: York County to be represented by Phillips-Hill, Regan in Senate of Pennsylvania

YORK – York County will move from having four state senators dividing the county to only two after the state’s Legislative Reapportionment Commission maps go into effect on Dec. 1, 2022.

Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) and Mike Regan (R-York/Cumberland) will serve as the two state senators for York Countians in the Senate of Pennsylvania for the 2023-24 session.

Through the reapportionment process, Phillips-Hill’s district will cover southern York County while Regan’s district will include the northern half of the county, as well as several municipalities in southern Cumberland County.

Phillips-Hill’s district moves her out of the following municipalities: York City, Manchester Township, West Manchester Township, and West York Borough, which will all be represented by Regan. Phillips-Hill will also pick up Jackson Township from Regan, as well as Hanover Borough, Penn Township and West Manheim Township, currently represented by Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin), and Springettsbury Township, represented by Sen. Chris Gebhard (R-Lebanon).

Regan’s district will now include the following municipalities currently represented by Sen. Gebhard: Conewago Township, East Manchester Township, Goldsboro, Lewisberry, Manchester Borough, Mount Wolf Borough, Newberry Township and York Haven.

“It is bittersweet to shift out of the City of York, West York Borough, Manchester and West Manchester townships as part of this process given the inroads we have made, but I know those residents will be well-served by Sen. Regan,” Phillips-Hill said. “I am very eager to get to work for the residents in Hanover Borough, and Jackson, Penn, Springettsbury, and West Manheim townships and continue to build on what we’ve been able to accomplish for southern York County.”

“I have been a resident of York County for over 25 years, and I look forward to continuing to represent York and Cumberland Counties in the Senate of Pennsylvania,” Regan said. “Since I was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2012, York County has been the pillar of my district, and I am excited about the new municipalities that fall in into the 31st Senatorial District and the work that lies ahead.”

More information on the 28th Senatorial District, represented by Phillips-Hill, here.

More information on the 31st Senatorial District, represented by Regan, here.

Senator Regan Announces $1.75 Million RACP Grant for Boiling Springs Mill Redevelopment

(HARRISBURG, PA) – According to Senator Mike Regan (R-Cumberland/York), $1.75 million of Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) funding is being granted for a project in South Middleton Township, Cumberland County.

Regan explained that RACP is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects.

“Today’s approval of $ 1.75 million will provide funds necessary to rebuild a staple of the Boiling Springs community and will give residents and tourists another place to take in the beauty of Children’s Lake following its reconstruction,” said Regan.

Last month, Regan announced an additional $2 million in RACP funds for other projects in Cumberland County.

This $1.75 million is allocated for the Boiling Springs Mill Redevelopment. The funds will be directed to aid in construction costs for the mill, which burned down earlier this year. The historic mill, which stood for generations at the southern end of Children’s Lake in Boiling Springs, will be rebuilt with the builder’s intent being to open a restaurant-brewery in the space.

Bruce McLanahan (717)-787-8524