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PRINTER'S NO. 2693
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
1935
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY BURNS, KINSEY, ROTHMAN, McCLINTON, HILL-EVANS,
READSHAW, CALTAGIRONE, HOWARD, OTTEN, DeLUCA, FRANKEL AND
ROEBUCK, OCTOBER 15, 2019
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, OCTOBER 15, 2019
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 safe schools, further providing
for definitions, for reporting, for policy relating to
bullying and for maintenance of records; and, in Safe2Say
Program, further providing for intent, for definitions and
for Safe2Say Program and providing for reporting and
remediating bullying.
This act may be referred to as the Anti-bullying Bill of
Rights Act.
The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
(1) Students in this Commonwealth have a right to learn
in a safe space, free from bullying at school, at school
activities or on the school bus and to communicate
electronically with classmates without harassment.
(2) Students and parents have a right to report acts of
bullying in a convenient and anonymous manner without the
fear of retaliation.
(3) Parents have a right to know if their child is a
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victim of bullying, to receive regular updates about bullying
investigations involving their child, to participate in the
resolution of bullying and to expect school officials to take
meaningful action until the bullying behavior stops.
(4) School entities have a right to develop strong anti-
bullying policies, to use data to reduce and resolve bullying
incidents and to require students and parents to play an
active role in eliminating bullying within the school
entities.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 1301-A of the act of March 10, 1949
(P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, is
amended by adding definitions to read:
Section 1301-A. Definitions.--As used in this article,
"Bullying" shall mean the following:
(1) An intentional electronic, written, verbal or physical
act, or a series of acts by a student directed at another
student or students that:
(i) Is reasonably perceived as being motivated by an actual
or perceived characteristic, such as:
(A) race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin,
gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression;
(B) a mental, physical or sensory disability; or
(C) any other distinguishing characteristic.
(ii) Satisfies the following conditions:
(A) Occurs in a school setting.
(B) Is severe, persistent or pervasive.
(C) Has the effect of doing any of the following:
(I) substantially interferes with a student's education;
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(II) creates a threatening environment; or
(III) substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the
school.
(2) Retaliation against a student or school employe by
another student or school employe for asserting or alleging an
act of bullying.
* * *
"School setting" shall mean a school, on school grounds, in a
school vehicle, at a designated bus stop or at an activity
sponsored, supervised or sanctioned by a school.
* * *
Section 2. Section 1303-A(b) introductory paragraph, (4.1)
and (e) of the act are amended and the section is amended by
adding subsections to read:
Section 1303-A. Reporting.--* * *
(b) [Each] Except as provided under subsections (b.2) and
(b.3)(1) and (2), each chief school administrator shall report
to the office by July 31 of each year all new incidents
involving 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. 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:
* * *
(4.1) A list of criminal offenses which shall, at a minimum,
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include:
(i) The following offenses under 18 Pa.C.S. (relating to
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(a.1) (relating to harassment).
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,
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Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act."
(iii) Attempts, solicitation or conspiracy to commit any of
the offenses listed in subclauses (i) and (ii).
(iv) An offense for which registration is required under 42
Pa.C.S. § 9795.1 (relating to registration).
* * *
(b.2) All new incidents involving cyber harassment of a
child shall be reported to the office by the chief school
administrator within thirty (30) days of the initial claim and
shall be included in the online database as provided in
subsection (b.3)(2).
(b.3) (1) The designated anti-bullying specialist for each
school entity shall report to the office all new incidents
involving acts of bullying reported to school officials that
meet the definition of bullying under section 1301-A within
thirty (30) days of the initial claim. Reports, on a form to be
developed and provided by the office, shall include the
following information for both the victim of an incident
involving an act of bullying and the perpetrator of the act of
bullying:
(i) Age or grade of the student.
(ii) Name and address of the school.
(iii) Circumstances surrounding the incident, including, but
not limited to, the date, time and location of the incident,
other students who were involved and details of the incident.
(iv) Race of the student.
(v) 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.
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(vi) Sanction imposed by the school.
(vii) Parental notification.
(viii) Remedial programs involved, including a written
bullying action plan.
(ix) Prior incidents of bullying or cyber harassment by the
student within the same academic year.
(2) Incidents reported to the office under this subsection
shall be recorded monthly with aggregate data per school entity
made available in an online bullying reports database on the
office's and school entity's publicly accessible Internet
websites.
(3) Incidents reported under this subsection and subsection
(b.2) shall be reported annually with the criminal offenses as
provided in subsection (b).
* * *
(e) (1) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the
contrary, the Department of Education may initiate disciplinary
action before the Professional Standards and Practices
Commission pursuant to the act of December 12, 1973 (P.L.397,
No.141), known as the "Professional Educator Discipline Act,"
against a chief school administrator, designated anti-bullying
specialist or principal of a school entity who intentionally
fails to submit the report as required under subsection (b)
[or], (b.2) or (b.3) or fails to 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 listed
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
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who intentionally falsifies a report submitted as required under
this section.
(2) In addition to any other disciplinary actions set forth
in the "Professional Educator Discipline Act," a chief school
administrator, designated anti-bullying specialist or principal
of a school entity who intentionally fails to submit the report
as required under subsection (b) [or], (b.2) or (b.3) or fails
to 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 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.
(f) For the purpose of this section, "cyber harassment"
shall mean activity that constitutes an offense under 18 Pa.C.S.
§ 2709(a.1).
Section 3. Sections 1303.1-A(a), (d) and (e) and 1307-A of
the act are amended to read:
Section 1303.1-A. Policy Relating to Bullying.--(a) No
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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]:
(1) 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]
(2) Identify the appropriate school staff person to serve as
the designated anti-bullying specialist and to receive reports
of incidents of alleged bullying.
(3) Explain the ways in which bullying can be reported by
students or parents and the phases of verification and
investigation that the school will follow.
(4) Outline the procedure that the appropriate staff member
will use to track verified acts of bullying and transmit reports
to the office.
* * *
(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).]
paragraph (1)(ii)(B) or (C) or (2) of the definition of
"bullying" in section 1301-A. 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
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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
sponsored, supervised or sanctioned by the school.]
Section 1307-A. Maintenance of Records.--All school entities
and private schools within this Commonwealth shall maintain
updated records of all incidents of violence, incidents
involving possession of a weapon, incidents of bullying or cyber
harassment and convictions or adjudications of delinquency for
acts committed on school property by students enrolled therein
on both a district-wide and school-by-school basis. Records
maintained under this section shall be contained in a format
developed by the Pennsylvania State Police in cooperation with
the office within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this
section. A statistical summary of these records shall be made
accessible to the public for examination by the public during
regular business hours.
Section 4. Section 1301-D(3) of the act, added June 22, 2018
(P.L.327, No.44), is amended and the section is amended by
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adding a paragraph to read:
Section 1301-D. Intent.
The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
* * *
(1.1) Incidents of bullying impact students' ability to
learn, socialize and thrive. The severity of bullying and
cyber harassment can provoke those affected to threaten to
take action against themselves or others.
* * *
(3) It is the intent of the General Assembly that the
Safe2Say Program be a one-stop shop for students, teachers
and community members to report behavior, including bullying
or cyber harassment, perceived to be threatening to an
individual or a school entity. Reports made through the
anonymous reporting system will be referred to local schools,
law enforcement and/or organizations.
* * *
Section 5. Section 1302-D of the act is amended by adding a
definition to read:
Section 1302-D. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this article
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
* * *
"Cyber harassment." An activity that constitutes an offense
under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2709(a.1) (relating to harassment).
* * *
Section 6. Section 1303-D(c)(1) of the act, added June 22,
2018 (P.L.327, No.44), is amended to read:
Section 1303-D. Safe2Say Program.
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* * *
(c) Program requirements.--Beginning January 14, 2019, the
program shall be responsible for the following:
(1) To ensure anonymous reporting concerning bullying or
unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent, intimidating
or criminal activities in a school entity or the threat of
the activities in a school entity.
* * *
Section 7. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 1303.1-D. Reporting and remediating bullying.
(a) Information.--School entities shall gather and maintain
the following information on all reported incidents of bullying
or cyber harassment:
(1) The names of the students involved.
(2) The ages and grades of the students involved.
(3) The name of the school where the students are
enrolled.
(4) The address and description of the location of the
incident.
(5) Details of the incidents, including dates, times,
actions and the form of bullying or cyber harassment.
(6) Action taken to remediate or resolve the situation.
(7) Disciplinary action taken by the school.
(8) Either the name of the individual reporting the
incident or a placeholder designating an anonymous reporter.
(b) Duties.--On receipt of a report of bullying or cyber
harassment, the school shall:
(1) Promptly investigate the incident and develop a
bullying action plan identifying the actions to be taken to
remedy and prevent further incidents, provided an
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investigation and development of a bullying action plan have
not already occurred.
(2) Notify the parents or guardians of all students
involved in the incident and provide a copy of the written
bullying action plan.
(3) Provide a copy of the bullying action plan to the
office within 10 school days.
(c) Review.--The office shall review the bullying action
plan for an incident reported to the office within 30 days of
receipt of the plan to determine whether the parties involved
are in compliance with the terms of the plan.
(d) Disciplinary action.--Notwithstanding any provision of
law to the contrary, the office may initiate disciplinary action
before the Professional Standards and Practices Commission under
the act of December 12, 1973 (P.L.397, No.141), known as the
Educator Discipline Act, against a chief school administrator or
principal of a school entity who fails to institute or implement
a bullying action plan, or impedes the implementation of a plan
under subsection (b).
Section 8. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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