New PA Bill Addresses How Schools Handle Bullying

Keystone Oaks already has updated its anti-bullying policy. Now the rest of the state may be required to follow.

A new bill, co-sponsored by State Rep. Erin Molchany (D-Brookline), is aimed at addressing bullying in Pennsylvania schools, and creates new requirements for school districts to deal with the issue.

The Pennsylvania Safe Schools legislation, known as the PASS Act, would establish procedures for responding to and reporting bullying in schools.

"The fact remains that students across the commonwealth are taunted, harassed and threatened at alarming rates. In particular, young members of the LGBT community (or those perceived to be) and racial minorities are at the highest risk," Molchany said in a statement released Wesnesday. "Every study that has analyzed the impact of bullying has shown the devastating consequences to students in the school environment and further."

The bill also would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to create an online website for school districts to more easily track incidents of bullying and violence that they are already required to report.

In addition, it would require school districts to develop a more comprehensive policy to define bullying, a step some local districts already have taken.

The Keystone Oaks School District recently updated its own anti-bullying policy to reflect changes in technology, including bullying that occurs over social media. Click here to read about the Keystone Oaks policy.

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Dana Collins January 25, 2013 at 08:02 AM
How about online bullying? I have two teenage girls that spend hours on facebook and other social sites from their smartphones and home computer and I am more concerend with online things like bullying and sexting. Any plans to do something abot that? Any recomendations on how to monitor that?
Ed M January 25, 2013 at 12:38 PM
If online bullying is done from a school district device, it should fall under the district policy. If bullying is done from a personal device, it shouldn't fall under the district policy. How do you monitor that? Let your kids know that you are there for them. Pay attention to what they are doing online. Tell them if they are being bullied to contact the site owners where the bullying occurs.
Joseph January 25, 2013 at 05:32 PM
....... why should the school be involved in monitoring events that occur at the home?
Concerned Citizen January 25, 2013 at 06:41 PM
One recommendation might be to monitor your teenagers' use of social media yourself. Why is it the school's responsibility?
John Kosinski January 27, 2013 at 09:05 AM
Dana, I agree with your concerns. Often, online interactions might be more dangerous than at school like interacting with strangers, publishing personal info etc. My sons are popular at schools and my concern is not that someone bully them but rather that they might be involved with bullying others. It is especially important with all the new laws about that. I searched and decide on a service called www.pgguard.com that monitors their activity all the time regardless of the device they use and location (smartphone or school pc). Whatever tool you choose, I think it should only be an additional measure after talking and educating your kids.


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