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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 17, 2014 03:37 PM
From: Representative Dom Costa
To: All House members
Subject: Applying Bullying Provisions of Public School Code to Nonpublic Schools (Former House Bill 44 of 2013)

In the near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation that will amend the Public School Code to require nonpublic schools to adopt a bullying policy and to review this policy annually with students. It is my sincere hope you will join me in this effort.

The statistics regarding bullying are truly alarming. For example, in a 2009 nationally-representative sample of youth grades 9-12, 19.9 percent reported being bullied on school property in the 12 months preceding the survey. The prevalence was higher among females (21.2 percent) than males (18.7 percent). Additionally, bullying generally peaks in middle childhood, and decreases over the high school years. According to a recent U.S. Department of Justice survey, almost 43 percent of 6th graders report having been bullied, compared to about 24 percent of 12th graders. Bullying can have lasting psychological effects on victims, and continues to be a problem of national implications – disrupting a child’s learning environment and, all too often, their life.

Currently, all public school entities in Pennsylvania are required to have a bullying policy in place and must review this policy each year with students. The policy must delineate disciplinary consequences for bullying and identify the appropriate school staff person to receive reports of alleged bullying. As we all know, however, bullying is not strictly confined to public schools. Considering this, my legislation will amend Section 1303.1-A of the Public School Code to require nonpublic schools to devise similar bullying policies by January 1, 2016.

My legislation will help ensure that all students across Pennsylvania, regardless of what school they attend, know the consequences of bullying and where to go for help if they see bullying occurring at their school or are victims themselves. Children should be able to learn in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable. Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB98