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                                                       PRINTER'S NO. 394



No. 358 Session of 2007

           MARCH 12, 2007


                                     AN ACT

     1  Providing for reforms in pilot school districts designed to
     2     reduce or eliminate school violence, for duties of the
     3     Secretary of Education and the Department of Education and
     4     for penalties.

     5                         TABLE OF CONTENTS
     6  Chapter 1.  Preliminary Provisions
     7  Section 101.  Short title.
     8  Section 102.  Declaration of policy.
     9  Section 103.  Definitions.
    10  Section 104.  Eligible school districts.
    11  Section 105.  Election to participate.
    12  Section 106.  Subsidy for participating school districts.
    13  Chapter 3.  School Violence Reforms
    14  Section 301.  Implementation.
    15  Section 302.  Alternative education.
    16  Section 303.  Requirements governing adjudicated delinquents.
    17  Section 304.  Reporting requirements for school employees.
    18  Section 305.  Discipline of student for drug and alcohol

     1                 violations.
     2  Section 306.  Property damage.
     3  Section 307.  Zero tolerance policy.
     4  Section 308.  Conflict resolution training.
     5  Chapter 5.  Miscellaneous Provisions
     6  Section 501.  Data collection and evaluation.
     7  Section 502.  Expiration.
     8  Section 503.  Effective date.
     9     The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    10  hereby enacts as follows:
    11                             CHAPTER 1
    12                       PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS
    13  Section 101.  Short title.
    14     This act shall be known and may be cited as the Schools Are
    15  For Education Pilot Program Act.
    16  Section 102.  Declaration of policy.
    17     The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
    18         (1)  Learning cannot take place in an atmosphere of fear
    19     caused by threats, intimidation, violence or disruption.
    20         (2)  Students and school employees have the right to
    21     attend and to work at a school that is secure and peaceful,
    22     conducive to learning and free from disruption.
    23         (3)  Violence, threats of violence, disruption or
    24     intimidation should not be tolerated in the schools of this
    25     Commonwealth.
    26         (4)  There is a zero tolerance policy for violence,
    27     threats of violence or intimidation in the schools of this
    28     Commonwealth.
    29         (5)  In order to effectuate this policy, the General
    30     Assembly wishes to implement targeted, comprehensive and
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     1     intensive reforms in pilot programs established in certain
     2     school districts that experience high incidence rates of
     3     violence. These reforms should be monitored and assessed over
     4     a five-year period to determine their efficacy in reducing
     5     the incidence rates.
     6  Section 103.  Definitions.
     7     The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
     8  have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
     9  context clearly indicates otherwise:
    10     "Department."  The Department of Education of the
    11  Commonwealth.
    12     "Participating school district."  A school district that has
    13  been designated by the Secretary of Education to participate in
    14  the pilot program established by this act.
    15     "Public School Code."  The act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30,
    16  No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949.
    17     "Secretary."  The Secretary of Education of the Commonwealth.
    18  Section 104.  Eligible school districts.
    19     The department shall designate six public school districts
    20  eligible to participate in the pilot program described in this
    21  act. In designating eligible school districts, the department
    22  shall insure that they are representative of urban and rural
    23  areas and that they are diverse in terms of size and
    24  geographical location.
    25  Section 105.  Election to participate.
    26     The board of school directors of any eligible school district
    27  designated under section 104 may participate in the pilot
    28  program through the adoption of a resolution by a majority vote
    29  of its directors. The resolution must be adopted on or before
    30  February 1, 2008, and must include a statement that the board
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     1  shall be committed to implementing all the reforms set forth in
     2  this act for at least the subsequent five school years,
     3  beginning with the school year 2008-2009.
     4  Section 106.  Subsidy for participating school districts.
     5     The department shall pay annually, in addition to all other
     6  grants and subsidies for which the participating school
     7  districts are otherwise entitled under Federal and State law, an
     8  amount up to $1,000 per each student enrolled in and attending
     9  the participating school district during each of the five school
    10  years, to the extent that the participating school district can
    11  document reasonable expenses less than or equal to the amount
    12  incurred in implementing the reforms described in this act.
    13                             CHAPTER 3
    14                      SCHOOL VIOLENCE REFORMS
    15  Section 301.  Implementation.
    16     The reforms described in this chapter shall be implemented in
    17  each participating school district.
    18  Section 302.  Alternative education.
    19     A participating school district shall establish and operate
    20  an alternative education program pursuant to the requirements
    21  set forth under the Public School Code except that the program
    22  shall also be available for elementary school students. A
    23  participating school district shall be eligible for alternative
    24  education program grants under section 1902-C of the Public
    25  School Code in addition to grants established under this act.
    26  Section 303.  Requirements governing adjudicated delinquents.
    27     (a)  General rule.--After becoming aware of information under
    28  42 Pa.C.S. § 6308 (relating to law enforcement records) or on
    29  receipt of information under 42 Pa.C.S. § 6341(b.1) (relating to
    30  adjudication) concerning a student, the building principal of a
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     1  participating school district shall provide the information to
     2  the superintendent and the superintendent shall determine:
     3         (1)  Whether the student has exhibited behavior that may
     4     be detrimental to the safety or welfare of other students or
     5     of other members of the school population.
     6         (2)  Whether educating the student in the regular school
     7     environment may disrupt learning in the school or create a
     8     dangerous or unsafe environment for students or for school
     9     employees.
    10     (b)  Placement in alternative education program.--
    11         (1)  If the superintendent of a participating school
    12     district determines that the student's presence may be
    13     disruptive or create a dangerous or unsafe environment, the
    14     superintendent shall place the student in an alternative
    15     education program pursuant to procedures set forth in section
    16     1902-C(2) of the Public School Code until such time as the
    17     school board concludes that the student's presence in the
    18     regular school environment will not be disruptive or create a
    19     dangerous or unsafe environment.
    20         (2)  A placement under this section shall not be deemed a
    21     disciplinary action pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 6341(b.1)(4).
    22     (c)  Sharing of information.--The superintendent shall
    23  provide the information concerning the student to all school
    24  officials, including, but not limited to, school employees who
    25  have a legitimate educational interest in the records.
    26     (d)  Definition.--As used in this section, the term
    27  "legitimate educational interest" includes, but is not limited
    28  to, the interests of officials and school employees who have any
    29  responsibility for supervising the student.
    30  Section 304.  Reporting requirements for school employees.
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     1     (a)  Notice and investigation.--
     2         (1)  In any instance where an employee of a participating
     3     school district has a reasonable suspicion that a student,
     4     group of students, visitor or group of visitors has committed
     5     or intends to commit a criminal act on school property,
     6     during a school-sponsored activity, on the way to or from
     7     school or to or from a school-sponsored activity, the
     8     employee shall immediately notify the employee's supervisor
     9     who shall immediately investigate the reported criminal
    10     activity.
    11         (2)  If after an investigation the supervisor determines
    12     that reasonable suspicion exists that the student, group of
    13     students, visitor or group of visitors has committed or
    14     intends to commit a criminal act, the supervisor shall
    15     immediately report the incident to the local law enforcement
    16     agency and to the superintendent.
    17         (3)  After receipt of the report, the superintendent
    18     shall immediately file a written report with the secretary
    19     and shall, without unreasonable delay, file the appropriate
    20     charge against the student, group of students, visitor or
    21     group of visitors suspected of having committed or intended
    22     to commit the criminal activity.
    23     (b)  Penalty.--Any public school employee in a participating
    24  school district who fails to comply with the requirements of
    25  this section commits a summary offense and, upon conviction,
    26  shall be sentenced to a fine of not more than $250 for the first
    27  offense and a fine of not more than $1,000 for a second or
    28  subsequent offense.
    29     (c)  Immunity.--Any public school employee of a participating
    30  school district who is required to make a report under this
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     1  section shall be immune from civil liability for filing the
     2  report.
     3     (d)  Expenses.--Whenever any public school employee of a
     4  participating school district shall be called to testify in a
     5  criminal proceeding based upon the employee's report filed under
     6  this section, the participating school district shall reimburse
     7  the employee for travel expenses and shall provide the employee
     8  with paid leave or with regular per diem rate if the employee is
     9  called to testify in a criminal proceeding after school hours or
    10  at a time when school is not in session.
    11  Section 305.  Discipline of student for drug and alcohol
    12                 violations.
    13     (a)  Uniform enforcement.--Because there is a compelling
    14  public interest in ensuring that schools are safe and drug free
    15  for all students and for school employees, the boards of school
    16  directors of a participating school district shall uniformly
    17  enforce policies that protect all students and school employees.
    18     (b)  School board policies.--The boards of school directors
    19  of a participating school district shall modify their policies,
    20  practices and procedures to ensure a safe environment free of
    21  illegal drugs and alcohol. These modifications shall include the
    22  formulation of a discipline plan that identifies specific
    23  policies, practices and procedures dealing with students or with
    24  other persons who take illegal drugs or alcohol onto school
    25  property, while traveling to or going from school, a school-
    26  sponsored activity or on a public conveyance providing
    27  transportation to or from school or to or from a school-
    28  sponsored activity. The discipline plan shall also include
    29  uniform drug-free policies and uniform penalties for violation
    30  of the policies mandated by this section.
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     1     (c)  Procedure.--The superintendent of a participating school
     2  district shall immediately file charges with the local law
     3  enforcement agency when any person violates policies concerning
     4  illegal drugs or alcohol adopted by the board of school
     5  directors. If the person is enrolled as a student in the
     6  participating public school, the board of school directors for
     7  the participating school district shall immediately suspend the
     8  student from attending regular classes and schedule a hearing to
     9  consider the student's suspension for at least the remainder of
    10  the academic year, placement in an alternative education program
    11  under this act or permanent expulsion.
    12     (d)  Admission to other schools.--
    13         (1)  If a person is suspended for violating the policies
    14     mandated in this section, pursuant to a hearing of the
    15     participating school directors, the person may not be
    16     admitted to any public school in this Commonwealth until the
    17     person has satisfied all requirements imposed by the board of
    18     school directors as a condition for readmission.
    19         (2)  To comply with the requirements of this subsection,
    20     school superintendents shall review the records of each
    21     student who transfers into the superintendent's school
    22     district to determine whether the student is being
    23     disciplined under the policies mandated by this act.
    24     (e)  Counseling.--Any person found by the board of school
    25  directors of a participating school district in violation of a
    26  drug policy shall participate in counseling performed by the
    27  school psychologist, school guidance counselor or a psychiatrist
    28  hired by the district until such time as the person who
    29  administers counseling submits a written report to the board
    30  certifying that the violator does not represent a threat to the
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     1  safety or security of self or of any student or school employee
     2  in the participating school district.
     3     (f)  Semiannual reporting.--A participating school district
     4  shall report all new incidents involving violations of policies
     5  concerning illegal drugs or alcohol at least twice a year to the
     6  secretary on a form developed and provided by the department.
     7  The form shall include:
     8         (1)  The age or grade of the student.
     9         (2)  The name and address of the school.
    10         (3)  The circumstances surrounding the incident.
    11         (4)  Any sanction imposed by the school.
    12         (5)  Any notification to a law enforcement agency.
    13         (6)  Any remedial program involved.
    14         (7)  The parental involvement required.
    15         (8)  Any arrest, conviction or adjudication, if known.
    16  Section 306.  Property damage.
    17     (a)  Civil and criminal actions.--The board of school
    18  directors of a participating school district owning property
    19  shall maintain a civil action to recover compensatory damages of
    20  up to $50,000, plus court costs, from the parent or legal
    21  guardian of a minor who willfully damages property belonging to
    22  the participating school district or who commits acts against
    23  the participating school district cognizable as an offense under
    24  18 Pa.C.S. § 3307 (relating to institutional vandalism). A
    25  finding of willful destruction of property or of commission of
    26  acts cognizable as a theft offense shall not be dependent upon a
    27  prior finding that the minor is a delinquent or dependent child
    28  or upon the minor's conviction of any criminal offense.
    29     (b)  Restitution and community service.--If a court renders
    30  judgment in favor of a participating school district under this
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     1  section, the court shall order full restitution unless the board
     2  and the parent or legal guardian agree that the minor and the
     3  parent or legal guardian should perform community service in
     4  lieu of full payment of the judgment. In such order, the court
     5  shall specify the amount to be paid by the minor and the parent
     6  or legal guardian, the type and number of hours of community
     7  service to be performed and any other conditions necessary to
     8  carry out the order.
     9  Section 307.  Zero tolerance policy.
    10     The board of school directors of a participating school
    11  district shall adopt a zero tolerance policy with regard to
    12  violence, threats of violence, intimidation or disruption. The
    13  policy shall be prominently displayed in all school buildings,
    14  publicized to parents and the community and distributed to all
    15  students and parents. The board of school directors may adopt
    16  any reasonable lawful measure not included in this act to
    17  further supplement and enforce the policy. The board of school
    18  directors shall invite the exclusive employee representatives
    19  under the act of July 23, 1970 (P.L.563, No.195), known as the
    20  Public Employe Relations Act, to establish terms and conditions
    21  of employment that further enforce the policy and protect the
    22  health and safety of school employees.
    23  Section 308.  Conflict resolution training.
    24     (a)  Employees.--School employees in a participating school
    25  district shall receive annual training in conflict resolution
    26  from a trainer whom the board of directors of the participating
    27  school district deems qualified in the area of conflict
    28  resolution. The training shall include, but shall not be limited
    29  to, a review of the impact of media violence on children.
    30     (b)  Students.--The students in a participating school
    20070S0358B0394                 - 10 -     

     1  district shall receive regular instruction in conflict
     2  resolution. Training shall include, but not be limited to, the
     3  development of critical thinking skills regarding the depiction
     4  of violence by the media. The training shall also incorporate
     5  instruction in humane education as required under section 1513
     6  of the Public School Code. Students who manifest difficulty in
     7  conflict resolution shall be referred for assistance to
     8  qualified and trained school guidance counselors.
     9                             CHAPTER 5
    10                      MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
    11  Section 501.  Data collection and evaluation.
    12     (a)  Duty of participating school districts.--A participating
    13  school district shall provide, in addition to information
    14  required by law to be reported to the Office of Safe Schools of
    15  the department, such detailed information as the department
    16  shall require to assess whether violence, threats of violence,
    17  intimidation or disruption is or is not declining.
    18     (b)  Duty of department.--The department shall report the
    19  information on a quarterly basis and transmit the report to the
    20  President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House
    21  of Representatives as soon as it is received.
    22  Section 502.  Expiration.
    23     This act shall expire July 1, 2013.
    24  Section 503.  Effective date.
    25     This act shall take effect immediately.

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