|September 1, 2017 01:05 PM
|Representative Dan L. Miller
|All House members
|It’s On Us – Comprehensive Anti-Violence Policy for K-12 Schools
|In the near future, I will be introducing legislation that is part of a package of bills designed with Governor Wolf that amends the Pennsylvania School Code in order to strengthen our commonwealth’s efforts to combat sexual violence through the “It’s on Us PA” campaign. “It's on Us PA” is a bipartisan effort to raise awareness and encourage action with the goal of strengthening Pennsylvania’s standards for combatting sexual violence in its education system.
Sexual violence disproportionately impacts young people. Research suggests that teens and young adults experience high rates of sexual harassment and violence, and that there are significant linkages between different forms of violence, including bullying, harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, and abuse/neglect. Unfortunately, this violence often goes unreported and unaddressed; less than one in 10 students who experience sexual assault will report their experience to officials, including school administrators or law enforcement.
Accordingly, this bill will consolidate existing policy requirements related to bullying, harassment, and violence to include sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and hazing, including prevention and intervention strategies. Under the proposed bill, students would be able to anonymously report acts of violence, harassment, or bullying – helping to address a common barrier of reporting, especially of sexual assault and harassment, by students to school officials.
Districts will also implement an anonymous reporting system, be required to investigate all claims, keep records of all incidents, and report these numbers annually to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Pending appropriations, PDE will provide a model policy for K-12 schools and will develop and disseminate resources to assist districts in implementing these new requirements, including professional development opportunities for educators and staff.
Please join me in sponsoring this bill, and the other bills in the It’s On Us PA legislative package, to help address sexual violence and ensure that all students can learn in environments where they feel safe and supported.
Introduced as HB1754