The following is a press release from State Rep. Dan Truitt (R-156)
Rep. Dan Truitt (R-Chester) has introduced legislation that would create an online database, run by the Department of Education, where school districts would report incidents of bullying. The database would create a deadline for investigations and would generate reports and send email updates to school and state officials.
House Bill 2636, known as the PASS (Pennsylvania Safe Schools) Act, would also mandate all teachers take an online bullying prevention training program every five years.
“Some people think bullying is just a normal part of childhood,” Truitt said. “Victims of bullying see it differently. Bullies rob their victims of some of the joys of childhood. Years later, the bullies look back and recall “youthful indiscretions” with a little laugh and maybe a little remorse. Their victims look back with pain, sadness, and sometimes a bit of anger.”
The PASS Act represents the most important and balanced interests of students, educators, and school administrators. It effects policy and how bullying is handled by establishing the basic reporting mechanism. It puts in place the most essential protections in school for students, educators, and administrators. It also requires such acts be reported to the state.
“The legislation is designed to increase reporting and awareness of bullying without putting a huge, new burden on education administrators or professionals,” Truitt said. “I see no down-side to it.”
Pennsylvania currently is ranked by the United States Department of Education as having one of the most insufficient safe schools laws in the nation. The Commonwealth lacks seven of the 16 identified central components of state level anti-bullying policies identified by the Education Department. All of Pennsylvania’s neighboring states have more effective safe schools laws.
“Children learn more when they enjoy school,” Truitt said. “The victims of bullying can’t enjoy school. If this legislation can help children with certain attributes to get more joy out of childhood, or if it helps to produce a generation of adults who are better at treating all others with respect, it will be a very good thing for all.”