PRINTER'S NO. 981
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
791
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY COMITTA, FONTANA, COSTA, TARTAGLIONE, CAPPELLETTI
AND COLLETT, JULY 6, 2021
REFERRED TO EDUCATION, JULY 6, 2021
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 intermediate units, repealing
provisions relating to psychological services; in
professional employes, further providing for definitions and
providing for school social workers; and, in school health
services, further providing for health services and providing
for school counselors, school psychologists and school
nurses.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 923.1-A of the act of March 10, 1949
(P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, is
repealed:
[Section 923.1-A. Psychological Services.--(a) Legislative
Finding; Declaration of Policy. It is today recognized that
diagnostic and evaluative psychological services to children are
closely related to their physical, mental and emotional health.
Such services can best be rendered upon the premises of the
school which the child regularly attends, and forcing children
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
to go to other premises in order to have such needed services is
found by the General Assembly to be both inadequate and harmful.
The General Assembly expressly finds and declares diagnostic and
evaluative psychological services for children to be health
services, and it is the intention of the General Assembly now to
make these available, on a general and even-handed basis, to all
school children in the Commonwealth.
(b) Definitions.--The following terms, whenever used or
referred to in this section, shall have the following meanings,
except in those circumstances where the context clearly
indicates otherwise:
"Nonpublic school" means any nonprofit school, other than a
public school within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, wherein a
resident of the Commonwealth may legally fulfill the compulsory
school attendance requirements and which meets the requirements
of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Public Law 88-352).
"Psychological services" means diagnostic and evaluative
psychological services for children.
(c) Provision of Services.--The Secretary of Education
directly, or through the intermediate units out of their
allocation under section 922.1-A of this act shall have the
power and duty to furnish free to nonpublic school students,
upon the premises of the nonpublic schools which they regularly
attend, psychological services provided that such services are
also afforded to public school students by the public school
district in which such nonpublic school is located.]
Section 2. Section 1101(1) of the act is amended to read:
Section 1101. Definitions.--As used in this article,
(1) The term "professional employe" shall include those who
are certificated, such as teachers, supervisors, supervising
20210SB0791PN0981 - 2 -
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
principals, principals, assistant principals, vice-principals,
directors of career and technical education, dental hygienists,
visiting teachers, home and school visitors, school social
workers, school counselors, child nutrition program specialists,
school librarians, school secretaries the selection of whom is
on the basis of merit as determined by eligibility lists and
school nurses.
* * *
Section 3. Section 1402 of the act is amended by adding a
subsection to read:
Section 1402. Health Services.--* * *
(g) The following shall apply:
(1) When a student who enrolls in a school entity previously
attended a different school entity within this Commonwealth, the
school entity in which the student is newly enrolled shall
request, and the school entity the student previously attended
shall surrender, the student's comprehensive health record
maintained under this section.
(2) A school entity may not destroy a student's
comprehensive health record maintained under this section for a
period of at least two (2) years after the student ceases to be
enrolled, but at the discretion of the school entity, may
surrender all or a portion the student's comprehensive health
record to the student's parent or guardian if the student does
not re-enroll in a school entity.
(3) As used in this subsection, the term "school entity"
shall mean a school district, charter school, regional charter
school, cyber charter school, nonpublic school, intermediate
unit or area career and technical school operating within this
Commonwealth.
20210SB0791PN0981 - 3 -
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
Section 4. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 1426. School Counselors, School Psychologists,
School Social Workers and School Nurses.--(a) Every student of
school age shall be provided with school counseling,
psychological, social work and school nursing services by an
individual employed by the school entity who meets the
qualification requirements for the position as established by
the General Assembly or the Department of Education. The ratio
for each type of service shall be as follows:
(1) The number of students under the care of each school
counselor shall not exceed two hundred fifty (250).
(2) The number of students under the care of each school
psychologist shall not exceed five hundred (500).
(3) The number of students under the care of each school
social worker shall not exceed two hundred fifty (250).
(4) The number of students under the care of each school
nurse shall not exceed seven hundred fifty (750) with at least
one (1) school nurse present in each school building.
(b) School counselors, school psychologists and school
social workers shall work with other school employes, including,
but not limited to, school administrators, teachers, school
physicians, school nurses, home and school visitors, school
dental hygienists and related service providers, to deliver
intervention, assessment and support services to students and to
provide referral to community resources as available and
appropriate. With parental consent and authorization from an
administrator of the school entity, school counselors, school
psychologists and school social workers may consult with the
student's private health care provider when necessary for the
provision of appropriate services to the student.
20210SB0791PN0981 - 4 -
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
(c) For each student, the school entity must include in the
student's comprehensive health record required to be maintained
under section 1402(b) documentation of social, emotional and
behavioral data which a school counselor, school psychologist,
school social worker or school nurse has submitted to the
administration of the school entity and deems pertinent to a
student's mental or behavioral health.
(d) Documentation included in a student's comprehensive
health record under this section shall be confidential and shall
be divulged only if necessary for the assessment of and
intervention with students whose behavior may indicate a threat
to the safety of the student, other students, school employees,
school facilities, the community or others, or at the request of
the parent or guardian, to a physician, psychiatrist or
psychologist legally qualified to practice in this Commonwealth.
(e) As used in this section:
"Department" means the Department of Education of the
Commonwealth.
"School counselor" means an individual who holds a valid
certificate for Elementary and Secondary School Counselor issued
by the department which qualifies the individual to be employed
by and working within a school entity.
"School entity" means a school district, charter school,
regional charter school, cyber charter school, intermediate unit
or area career and technical school operating within this
Commonwealth.
"School nurse" means an individual who holds a valid
certificate for School Nurse issued by the department which
qualifies the individual to be employed by and working within a
school entity.
20210SB0791PN0981 - 5 -
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
"School psychologist" means an individual who holds a valid
certificate for School Psychologist issued by the department
which qualifies the individual to be employed by and working
within a school entity.
"School social worker" means an individual who satisfies the
following criteria:
(1) Until July 31, 2023, as follows:
(i) The individual holds a current license as a social
worker or clinical social worker under the act of July 9, 1987
(P.L.220, No.39), known as the "Social Workers, Marriage and
Family Therapists and Professional Counselors Act."
( ii) The individual is currently employed by a school
entity.
(iii) The individual has completed at least one (1) year of
satisfactory service as a school social worker or other titled
position providing social work-related services in a school
entity within the previous two (2) years.
(2) Beginning August 1, 2023, as follows:
(i) The individual holds a valid, active school social
worker certificate or an emergency permit issued by the
department and a current license as a social worker or clinical
social worker under the " Social Workers, Marriage and Family
Therapists and Professional Counselors Act."
(ii) The individual is enrolled in a school social worker
preparation program approved by the department.
Section 5. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
20210SB0791PN0981 - 6 -
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26