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PRINTER'S NO. 1000
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
893
Session of
2017
INTRODUCED BY MURT, V. BROWN, D. COSTA, DAVIDSON, FRANKEL,
FREEMAN, McNEILL, D. MILLER, NEILSON, READSHAW, ROEBUCK,
SAYLOR, SCHLOSSBERG, SOLOMON, TAYLOR AND WATSON,
MARCH 17, 2017
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, MARCH 17, 2017
AN ACT
Amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), entitled "An
act relating to the public school system, including certain
provisions applicable as well to private and parochial
schools; amending, revising, consolidating and changing the
laws relating thereto," in certification of teachers, further
providing for program of continuing professional education;
and, in safe schools, further providing for definitions, for
reporting and for policy relating to bullying and providing
for powers and duties of Department of Education.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 1205.2 of the act of March 10, 1949
(P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, is
amended by adding a subsection to read:
Section 1205.2. Program of Continuing Professional
Education.--* * *
(a.1) In addition to the continuing education program
required under subsection (a), each professional educator shall
complete at least four (4) hours of training focused solely on
the identification and prevention of, intervention in and the
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use of the online portal to report harassment, bullying and
cyberbullying as the terms are defined in section 1301-A or to
complete the online training and examination programs
established in section 1303.2-A(3) and (4).
* * *
Section 2. The definition of "school property" in section
1301-A of the act is amended and the section is amended by
adding definitions to read:
Section 1301-A. Definitions.--As used in this article,
"Bullying" shall mean any written, verbal or physical act or
conduct which may, but shall not be required to, be based on an
actual or perceived characteristic, including, but not limited
to, a characteristic related to race, color, religion, national
origin, ancestry, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical
disability, mental or emotional health, learning disability,
gender, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status or
physical appearance or based on an association with a person who
has or is perceived to have one or more such characteristics
and:
(1) is directed at a specific student or students;
(2) occurs in a school setting;
(3) is severe, persistent or pervasive; and
(4) has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of
one or more of the following:
(i) places a reasonable student in fear of physical harm to
the student's person or property;
(ii) causes a substantially detrimental effect on a
reasonable student's physical or mental health; or
(iii) substantially interferes with a student's ability to
participate in or benefit from the services, activities or
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privileges provided by a school.
* * *
"Cyberbullying" shall mean bullying that occurs through
electronic communication.
"Electronic communication" shall mean the following:
(1) a form of communication through an electronic
device, including, but not limited to:
(i) a telephone;
(ii) a cellular phone;
(iii) a computer; or
(iv) a pager.
(2) The term includes, but is not limited to, e-mail,
instant messaging, text messaging, blogging, paging, online
gaming and communication through an Internet website.
"Harassment" shall have the same meaning as defined under 18
Pa.C.S. § 2709 (relating to harassment).
* * *
"School property" or "school setting" shall mean any public
school grounds, any school-sponsored activity [or], any
conveyance providing transportation to a school entity or
school-sponsored activity[.] or event, or a designated school
bus stop when students are waiting to be picked up by school-
provided transportation or exiting from school-provided
transportation.
* * *
Section 3. Sections 1303-A(b), (b.1), (c) and (e)(2) and
1303.1-A of the act are amended to read:
Section 1303-A. Reporting.--* * *
(b) [Each chief school administrator shall report to the
office by July 31 of each year all new] All incidents involving
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acts of violence, possession of a weapon or possession, use or
sale of controlled substances as defined in the act of April 14,
1972 (P.L.233, No.64), known as "The Controlled Substance, Drug,
Device and Cosmetic Act," or possession, use or sale of alcohol
or tobacco by any person on school property shall be reported to
the office through the safe schools online portal pursuant to
the procedure set forth in section 1303.2-A. [The incidents to
be reported to the office shall include all incidents involving
conduct that constitutes a criminal offense listed under
paragraphs (4.1) and (4.2). Reports on a form to be developed
and provided by the office shall include:] Reports through the
acts-of-violence online interface within the safe schools online
portal required under section 1303.2-A shall include, at a
minimum, the following information:
(1) Age or grade of student.
(2) Name and address of school.
(3) Circumstances surrounding the incident, including, but
not limited to, type of weapon, controlled substance, alcohol or
tobacco, the date, time and location of the incident, if a
person other than a student is involved in the incident and any
relationship to the school entity.
(3.1) Race of student.
(3.2) Whether the student has an Individualized Education
Plan under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(Public Law 91-230, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.), and if so, the
type of disability.
(4) Sanction imposed by the school.
(4.1) A list of criminal offenses which shall, at a minimum,
include:
(i) The following offenses under 18 Pa.C.S. (relating to
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crimes and offenses):
Section 908 (relating to prohibited offensive weapons).
Section 912 (relating to possession of weapon on school
property).
Chapter 25 (relating to criminal homicide).
Section 2702 (relating to aggravated assault).
Section 2709.1 (relating to stalking).
Section 2901 (relating to kidnapping).
Section 2902 (relating to unlawful restraint).
Section 3121 (relating to rape).
Section 3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual assault).
Section 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual
intercourse).
Section 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault).
Section 3124.2 (relating to institutional sexual assault).
Section 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault).
Section 3126 (relating to indecent assault).
Section 3301 (relating to arson and related offenses).
Section 3307 (relating to institutional vandalism) when the
penalty is a felony of the third degree.
Section 3502 (relating to burglary).
Section 3503(a) and (b)(1)(v) (relating to criminal
trespass).
Section 5501 (relating to riot).
Section 6110.1 (relating to possession of firearm by minor).
(ii) The possession, use or sale of a controlled substance
or drug paraphernalia as defined in "The Controlled Substance,
Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act."
(iii) Attempts, solicitation or conspiracy to commit any of
the offenses listed in subclauses (i) and (ii).
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(iv) An offense for which registration is required under 42
Pa.C.S. § 9795.1 (relating to registration).
(4.2) The following offenses under 18 Pa.C.S., and any
attempt, solicitation or conspiracy to commit any of these
offenses:
Section 2701 (relating to simple assault).
Section 2705 (relating to recklessly endangering another
person).
Section 2706 (relating to terroristic threats).
Section 2709 (relating to harassment).
Section 3127 (relating to indecent exposure).
Section 3307 (relating to institutional vandalism) when the
penalty is a misdemeanor of the second degree.
Section 3503(b)(1)(i), (ii), (iii) and (iv), (b.1) and (b.2)
(relating to criminal trespass).
Chapter 39 (relating to theft and related offenses).
Section 5502 (relating to failure of disorderly persons to
disperse upon official order).
Section 5503 (relating to disorderly conduct).
Section 6305 (relating to sale of tobacco).
Section 6306.1 (relating to use of tobacco in schools
prohibited).
Section 6308 (relating to purchase, consumption, possession
or transportation of liquor or malt or brewed beverages).
(4.3) If the discipline infraction was a violation of the
policy adopted under section 1303.1-A.
(5) Notification of law enforcement.
(5.1) Law enforcement response.
(6) Remedial programs involved.
(7) Parental involvement required.
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(8) Arrests, convictions and adjudications, if known.
(b.1) [Prior to submitting the report required under
subsection (b), each chief school administrator] The chief
school administrator shall send an acts-of-violence report from
the acts-of-violence online interface within the safe schools
online portal established under section 1303.2-A to the police
department that has jurisdiction over the relevant school
property on an annual basis. Each chief school administrator and
each police department having jurisdiction over school property
of the school entity shall [do all of the following] have the
following duties:
(1) [No later than thirty (30) days prior to the deadline
for submitting the report to the office required under
subsection (b), the] The chief school administrator shall submit
the report to the police department with jurisdiction over the
relevant school property. The police department shall review the
report and compare the data regarding criminal offenses and
notification of law enforcement to determine whether the report
accurately reflects police incident data.
(2) No later than [fifteen (15) days prior to the deadline
for the chief school administrator to submit the report required
under subsection (b)] twenty-one (21) days after receiving the
acts-of-violence report, the police department shall notify the
chief school administrator, in writing, whether the report
accurately reflects police incident data. Where the police
department determines that the report accurately reflects police
incident data, the chief of police shall sign the report. Where
the police department determines that the report does not
accurately reflect police incident data, the police department
shall indicate any discrepancies between the report and police
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incident data.
(3) [Prior to submitting the report required under
subsection (b), the] The chief school administrator and the
police department shall attempt to resolve discrepancies between
the report and police incident data. Where a discrepancy remains
unresolved, the police department shall notify the chief school
administrator and the office in writing.
(4) Where a police department fails to take action as
required under paragraph (1), (2) or (3), the chief school
administrator [shall submit the report required under subsection
(b) and indicate that the police department failed to take
action as required under paragraph (2) or (3).] shall indicate
the police department's failure to take action by entering the
information in the acts-of-violence online interface within the
safe schools online portal under subsection (b).
(c) Each chief school administrator shall form an advisory
committee composed of relevant school staff, including, but not
limited to, principals, security personnel, school resource
officers, guidance counselors and special education
administrators, to assist in the development of a memorandum of
understanding pursuant to this section. In consultation with the
advisory committee, each chief school administrator shall enter
into a memorandum of understanding with police departments
having jurisdiction over school property of the school entity.
Each chief school administrator shall submit a copy of the
memorandum of understanding to the office by June 30, 2011, and
biennially update and re-execute a memorandum of understanding
with local law enforcement and file such memorandum with the
office on a biennial basis. The memorandum of understanding
shall be signed by the chief school administrator, the chief of
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police of the police department with jurisdiction over the
relevant school property and principals of each school building
of the school entity. The memorandum of understanding shall
comply with the regulations promulgated by the State Board of
Education under section 1302.1-A and shall also include:
(1) The procedure for police department review of the annual
report required under subsection (b)[prior to the chief school
administrator filing the report required under subsection (b)
with the office].
(2) A procedure for the resolution of school violence data
discrepancies in the report [prior to filing the report required
under subsection (b) with the office].
(3) Additional matters pertaining to crime prevention agreed
to between the chief school administrator and the police
department.
* * *
(e) * * *
(2) In addition to any other disciplinary actions set forth
in the "Professional Educator Discipline Act," a chief school
administrator or principal of a school entity who intentionally
fails to [submit the report] enter thorough and accurate
information into the acts-of-violence online interface as
required under subsection (b) or enter into the memorandum of
understanding with the police department with jurisdiction over
the relevant school property, report an incident involving an
act of violence, possession of a weapon or an offense cited
under subsection (b)(4.1) that occurs on school property to a
police department or submit a copy of the memorandum of
understanding to the office as required under subsection (c) or
who intentionally falsifies a report submitted as required under
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this section shall be subject to prosecution for violation of 18
Pa.C.S. § 4904 (relating to unsworn falsification to
authorities). The following civil penalties may be imposed by
the Professional Standards and Practices Commission for
violations of this article:
(i) for a first violation, $2,500;
(ii) for a second violation, $3,500; or
(iii) for a third or subsequent violation, $5,000.
Any penalty imposed under this paragraph shall be paid to the
Department of Education and used for the support of the office.
Section 1303.1-A. Policy Relating to Bullying.--[(a) No
later than January 1, 2009, each school entity shall adopt a
policy or amend its existing policy relating to bullying and
incorporate the policy into the school entity's code of student
conduct required under 22 Pa. Code § 12.3(c) (relating to school
rules). The policy shall delineate disciplinary consequences for
bullying and may provide for prevention, intervention and
education programs, provided that no school entity shall be
required to establish a new policy under this section if one
currently exists and reasonably fulfills the requirements of
this section. The policy shall identify the appropriate school
staff person to receive reports of incidents of alleged
bullying.
(b) Each school entity shall make the policy available on
its publicly accessible Internet website, if available, and in
every classroom. Each school entity shall post the policy at a
prominent location within each school building where such
notices are usually posted. Each school entity shall ensure that
the policy and procedures for reporting bullying incidents are
reviewed with students within ninety (90) days after their
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adoption and thereafter at least once each school year.
(c) Each school entity shall review its policy every three
(3) years and annually provide the office with a copy of its
policy relating to bullying, including information related to
the development and implementation of any bullying prevention,
intervention and education programs. The information required
under this subsection shall be attached to or made part of the
annual report required under section 1303-A(b).
(d) In its policy relating to bullying adopted or maintained
under subsection (a), a school entity shall not be prohibited
from defining bullying in such a way as to encompass acts that
occur outside a school setting if those acts meet the
requirements contained in subsection (e)(1), (3) and (4). If a
school entity reports acts of bullying to the office in
accordance with section 1303-A(b), it shall report all incidents
that qualify as bullying under the entity's adopted definition
of that term.
(e) For purposes of this article, "bullying" shall mean an
intentional electronic, written, verbal or physical act, or a
series of acts:
(1) directed at another student or students;
(2) which occurs in a school setting;
(3) that is severe, persistent or pervasive; and
(4) that has the effect of doing any of the following:
(i) substantially interfering with a student's education;
(ii) creating a threatening environment; or
(iii) substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the
school; and
"school setting" shall mean in the school, on school grounds,
in school vehicles, at a designated bus stop or at any activity
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sponsored, supervised or sanctioned by the school.]
(f) No later than July 1, 2018, each school entity shall
adopt the Department of Education's model policy related to
bullying required under section 1303.2-A(5) or an alternative
policy that includes, at a minimum, the requirements of section
1303.2-A(5) prohibiting harassment, bullying and cyberbullying.
A school entity may comply with this subsection by amending the
school entity's existing policy to include, at a minimum, the
requirements of section 1303.2-A(5). The school entity shall
involve students, parents, guardians, administrators, school
staff, school volunteers and local law enforcement agencies in
the process of adopting an alternative policy if the school
entity chooses not to implement the Department of Education's
model policy related to bullying.
(g) Each school building shall adopt and follow the bullying
policy established by the school entity where the school
building is located.
(h) Each school entity shall incorporate a bullying policy
into the school entity's code of student conduct required under
22 Pa. Code § 12.3(c) (relating to school rules). The school
entity's policy shall be implemented in a manner that is ongoing
throughout the school year and integrated with each school
entity's discipline policies and other violence prevention
efforts. Discipline imposed under the policy must be consistent
with Federal and State law.
(i) Students, school staff and volunteers shall not engage
in harassment, bullying or cyberbullying that takes place:
(1) in a school setting; or
(2) through use of electronic communication outside a school
setting that is directed at a student, and is so severe,
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persistent or pervasive that the harassment, bullying or
cyberbullying substantially interferes with a student's ability
to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or
privileges provided by a school.
(j) A school employe who promptly reports in good faith an
act of harassment, bullying or cyberbullying to the appropriate
school official designated in the school entity's model policy
related to bullying established under this section and who makes
the report in compliance with the procedures specified in the
policy shall be immune from a cause of action for damages
arising out of the reporting.
(k) Nothing in this section shall be construed:
(1) to prevent a victim of harassment, bullying or
cyberbullying from seeking redress under another available civil
or criminal law; or
(2) to infringe upon the right of a school employe or
student to engage in speech or expression protected by the
Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of
Pennsylvania.
(l) If a provision of this section or the application of the
provision to a person or circumstance is held invalid, the
invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of
the section unless the invalid provision or application is
declared severable.
Section 4. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 1303.2-A. Powers and Duties of Department of
Education.--The Department of Education shall have the following
powers and duties:
(1) By November 1, 2017, establish, develop and maintain a
secure Internet safe schools online portal which shall be
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accessible only by employes of the Department of Education and
the professional school employes in each school entity. The
portal shall include:
(i) A bullying online interface for school employes to enter
and track harassment, bullying or cyberbullying incidents and
followup. At a minimum, the safe schools bullying online
interface shall include areas to enter information related to:
(A) All complaints related to the specific incident of
harassment, bullying or cyberbullying.
(B) Names of each party involved, including the name of the
individual who entered the details of the incident into the
online portal.
(C) Complete and accurate information regarding the
investigation, including the name of the individual responsible
for the investigation.
(D) Complete and accurate information regarding the
resolution of the complaint.
(ii) An acts-of-violence online interface to enter and track
all incidents involving acts of violence, possession of a weapon
or possession, use or sale of controlled substances as defined
in section 2 of the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L.233, No.64),
known as "The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic
Act," or possession, use or sale of alcohol or tobacco by a
person on school property. At a minimum, the acts-of-violence
online interface shall include all information required under
section 1303-A. At the discretion of the Department of
Education, the acts-of-violence online interface may be
integrated with the bullying online interface established under
subparagraph (i) to create a single interface for entering all
required information for an act of violence or a case of
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harassment, bullying or cyberbullying.
(iii) Automatic, periodic generation of appropriate bullying
reports only for the individuals listed below in the following
intervals:
(A) Each school principal, monthly.
(B) Each chief school administrator, quarterly.
(C) The Secretary of Education, annually.
(D) The General Assembly, annually.
(iv) Automatic, periodic generation of appropriate acts-of-
violence reports for the individuals listed below in the
following intervals:
(A) Each school principal, monthly.
(B) Each chief school administrator, quarterly.
(C) The Secretary of Education, annually.
(D) The General Assembly, annually.
(v) Automatic e-mailing of bullying reports and acts-of-
violence reports to the individuals and in the intervals
specified in subparagraphs (iii) and (iv).
(vi) Automatic e-mailing of bullying incident deadline
reminders to individuals responsible for the investigation.
(vii) The online training program and online examination
program established under paragraphs (3) and (4).
(2) Ensure all of the following:
(i) All reports produced for the chief school administrator,
the Secretary of Education and the General Assembly do not
include the names or other identifying information of the
students involved in bullying incidents, the individuals who
reported the incidents or the individuals who entered the
incident data into the online portal.
(ii) No option for the production of custom queries or
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reports include individually identifiable information.
(iii) No option for a user to search for incident data by
the name of a party involved in the incident.
(iv) No means for a user to access the raw data within the
online portal.
(v) Automatic deletion of all student-identifiable data no
later than thirty (30) days after resolution of the complaint.
(3) By November 1, 2017, develop an online training program
to fulfill the continuing education requirement on prevention
of, and intervention in, harassment, bullying and cyberbullying
established under section 1205.2(a.1).
(4) By November 1, 2017, develop an online examination
program to fulfill the continuing education requirement on
prevention of, and intervention in, harassment, bullying and
cyberbullying established under section 1205.2(a.1).
(5) No later than January 1, 2018, develop and establish a
model policy related to bullying. The policy shall contain, at a
minimum, the following:
(i) A statement prohibiting harassment, bullying and
cyberbullying of a student and explaining the scope of the
prohibition, including a statement that the policy applies to
school-sponsored functions.
(ii) The definitions of "bullying," "cyberbullying" and
"harassment" under section 1301-A.
(iii) Consequences and appropriate remedial action,
including positive behavior support as defined in 22 Pa. Code §
14.133 (relating to positive behavior support), for a person who
commits an act of harassment, bullying or cyberbullying.
Disciplinary consequences for harassment, bullying and
cyberbullying shall be unique to the individual incident and
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vary in severity based on the nature of the incident, the
developmental age of the perpetrator and the perpetrator's
history of problem behaviors.
(iv) A procedure for students, school employes and school
administrators to report an act of harassment, bullying or
cyberbullying. The procedure shall include the following:
(A) A person, other than a school employe, may report an act
of harassment, bullying or cyberbullying anonymously to a school
employe, provided that no formal disciplinary action is taken
solely on the basis of an anonymous report.
(B) All acts of harassment, bullying or cyberbullying shall
be entered into the safe schools online portal established under
section 1303.2-A(1) within forty-eight (48) hours of when the
school employe witnessed or received reliable information that a
student had been subject to harassment, bullying or
cyberbullying.
(C) No later than forty-eight (48) hours after notice of an
alleged incident, the principal or principal's designee shall
inform the parents or guardians of all students involved in the
alleged incident. Prior to notification of a parent, guardian or
student regarding an incident of harassment, bullying or
cyberbullying, the principal or principal's designee shall
consider the age, health, well-being, safety and privacy of a
student involved in the incident. The principal or principal's
designee may discuss, as appropriate, the availability of
counseling and other intervention or protective services.
(v) A procedure for prompt investigation of reports of
violations and complaints, which procedure shall, at a minimum,
provides that:
(A) The investigation shall be conducted by the principal or
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the principal's designee.
(B) The investigation shall be completed as soon as
possible, but no later than twenty-one (21) days from the date
the report is entered into the safe schools online portal.
(C) The results of the investigation shall be reported to
the principal, if not directly involved in the investigation,
and chief school administrator. The principal or chief school
administrator shall decide whether to provide intervention
services, establish or enhance training programs to reduce
harassment, bullying or cyberbullying and improve school
climate, impose discipline, order counseling or take or
recommend other appropriate action based on the findings of the
investigation.
(D) The safe schools online portal shall be updated and
finalized with complete and accurate information regarding the
incident by the principal or principal's designee in charge of
the investigation within forty-eight (48) hours after the
investigation has ended.
(E) Upon request, students who are parties to the
investigation shall receive information about the investigation,
subject to Federal and State law and regulation, including the
nature of the investigation, whether the school entity found
evidence of harassment, bullying or cyberbullying and whether
discipline was imposed or services were provided to address the
incident of harassment, bullying or cyberbullying. This
information shall be provided in writing within five (5) days of
the request.
(F) A party that is dissatisfied with the outcome of an
investigation and subsequent action taken may appeal to the
governing body of the school entity within thirty (30) days
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after the issuance of the written report.
(vi) A statement that prohibits retaliation against a person
who reports an act of harassment, bullying or cyberbullying,
including a witness or a person with reliable information about
the act, and the consequence and appropriate remedial action for
a person who engages in retaliation.
(vii) A statement of the manner in which the policy is to be
publicized. The statement shall include:
(A) A requirement that a link to the policy shall be
prominently posted on the school entity's publicly accessible
Internet website and that each school entity shall post the
policy at a prominent location within each school building where
notices are usually posted or in each classroom.
(B) A requirement that the name, school telephone number,
school address and school e-mail address of the principal or
principal's designee responsible for investigating harassment,
bullying and cyberbullying shall be prominently listed on the
school entity's publicly accessible Internet website.
(C) A requirement that the policy shall be distributed
annually to students, parents and guardians. The policy may be
included in a student code of conduct and Family Educational
Rights and Privacy Act statement under the Family Educational
Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (Pubic Law 90-247, 20 U.S.C. §
1232g).
(D) A statement that the school entity shall ensure that the
policy and procedures for reporting harassment, bullying and
cyberbullying are reviewed with students within ninety (90) days
after the adoption of the policy and procedures for reporting
harassment, bullying and cyberbullying and at least once every
school year.
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(viii) A statement that the school entity shall review its
policy every three (3) years and annually provide the Department
of Education with a copy of the policy prohibiting harassment,
bullying and cyberbullying if the school entity uses an
alternate policy instead of the Department of Education's model
policy.
(ix) Provisions for the formation of bullying prevention
task forces, programs, associated trainings and other
initiatives involving school staff, pupils, administrators,
volunteers, parents, law enforcement, community members and
other stakeholders, as deemed appropriate by the school entity.
(x) Annual training for administrators, school employes and
volunteers who have significant contact with students in
preventing, identifying, responding to and reporting incidents
of harassment, bullying or cyberbullying. School entities may
incorporate training into existing annual training sessions or
seminars related to other school matters.
(6) By January 1, 2018, compile and make available to all
school entities a list of programs appropriate for the
prevention of harassment, bullying or cyberbullying of students,
including programs that are available to school entities for
free or at reduced costs.
(7) Periodically review school entity policies, programs,
activities and services to determine whether the school entities
are complying with this section and section 1303.1-A.
Section 5. Any regulations of the Department of Education
that are inconsistent with this act are hereby abrogated to the
extent of the inconsistency.
Section 6. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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