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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 8, 2015 11:39 AM
From: Representative Tina M. Davis
To: All House members
Subject: Older Student Protection
In the near future, I will re-introduce legislation – House Bill 854 – to amend Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to require school employees to report alleged cases of abuse of older school students who suffer from serious mental or learning disabilities and have been placed in an individualized education program (IEP).

As you may know, the Child Protective Services Law requires school employees to report cases of alleged abuse of students under the age of eighteen, with no exception based on school setting or student disability. With this in mind, there are instances in which students over the age of eighteen who are enrolled in schools throughout the Commonwealth and suffer from serious mental or learning disabilities thus requiring an IEP, have been victims of abuse. To help address this problem, my legislation would amend Title 23 by adding a new chapter - Chapter 64 – Older Student Protection.

Under this chapter, a student would be defined as an individual who is enrolled in a public or private school and is eighteen years of age or older, suffers from serious mental or learning disabilities, and has been prescribed an individualized education program. My legislation would require a school employee who has reasonable cause to suspect that an older school student is a victim of sexual abuse, serious injury, or serious bodily injury, to notify the administrator of the school. In turn, the administrator would immediately report the suspected abuse to law enforcement officials. Furthermore, school employees and administrators who fail to report the suspected abuse commit a misdemeanor of the third degree.

Protecting all students in this Commonwealth – particularly students who suffer from serious disabilities and may have difficulty reporting instances of abuse – should be of the utmost concern for us as elected officials. I invite you to co-sponsor this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1970