With the start of a new school year just around the corner, school safety was the focus of a special event in Hermitage on Tuesday.

It was a roundtable discussion that involved more than three dozen participants from education, law enforcement, mental and behavioral health.

The event organizer, State Senator Michele Brooks, said there is more to school safety than training for a school attack. 

"Of course we have to be prepared when or if it would occur, but the most important aspect of this is being proactive and preventative, stopping this before it occurs," said Brooks.

Some in the group called for directing more resources toward prevention.

"We feel that prevention is the key. We would rather work with these kids, offer them the help they need before they get to a crisis mode. Being able to have counselors, mental health professionals, school psychologists in our schools would help," said Dawn Blaus of the Pennsylvania School Employees Association. 

Pennsylvania currently has pending legislation that would require each student to receive a depression screening along with their required physical exams in middle school and high school.

Another bill would provide Telemedicine to rural districts that don't have behavioral professionals on staff.  

Another take away from the roundtable discussion was the need for more communication.

"It's about communication. It's getting access to the kids who know something is wrong with a fellow student and giving them permission and a mechanism by which they can sound the alarm without putting themselves at risk," said Steven Riggall, medical director of Inpatient Behavioral Health at Sharon Regional Hospital. 

Superintendents from nine school districts attended the roundtable.