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07/20/2024 03:07 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20130&cosponId=14563
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: April 16, 2014 11:40 PM
From: Representative Jesse White
To: All House members
Subject: "Christian's Law"- Whistleblower Protection for Victims of School Bullying
 

In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would amend Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses), 5703 (Interception, disclosure or use of wire, electronic or oral communications), of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to provide an exception to the wiretapping prohibition law. Under current law, with only a few exceptions, a person is guilty of a felony of the third degree if he intentionally intercepts any wire, electronic, or oral communication.

As you may be aware, a constituent of mine, a fifteen year-old South Fayette High School student named Christian Stanfield, was recently convicted for video/audio recording his fellow classmates that were bullying him during class. The student recorded his classmates, without their consent, in order to provide evidence of the bullying to the school administrators. When the video was presented to the principal by the bullying victims mother, the principal asserted his belief that the victim violated Pennsylvania's wiretapping law, and immediately contacted the police. While ultimately the police decided to not charge the victim with violating the wiretapping law, he was still charged, and subsequently convicted, of disorderly conduct.

The case attracted national media attention and exposed a potential loophole in Pennsylvania law when it comes to bullying in our schools.

Under my legislation, a bullying victim, or a witness to bullying, would be able to record any electronic or oral communication while on school property or at a school-sponsored event, if that person is under a reasonable suspicion that evidence of bullying may be obtained from the recording. Additionally, my legislation would bar the individual who made the recording from publishing, reproducing, or transmitting the recording to the public.

Our children are entitled to feel safe while in school and should not fear inaction or negative repercussions when blowing the whistle on bullying. I urge you to join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation. Thank you!



Introduced as HB2201