For Immediate Release
September 26, 2006
Education Committee Approves Greenleaf Anti-Bullying Bill
HARRISBURG –The Senate Education Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 71, a measure offered by Sen. Stewart J. Greenleaf, to ensure that school districts provide policies to address the problem of bullying.
The bill was amended by Education Committee member Sen. Connie Williams to require that the anti-bullying policy be distributed to parents and students with the student code of conduct and that it be available on the Internet. The amendment, which passed unanimously, provides that each school entity review its policy every three years and provide the Office Safe Schools with a copy of its policy relating to bullying, including information related to the development and implementation of any bullying prevention, intervention and education programs. The information would also be made part of the annual school violence reports.
"A number of individual schools in the commonwealth have bullying prevention and abatement programs already in place, and that's great," said Greenleaf, "but bullying is a pervasive problem and should be addressed in a specific policy by all school districts." The senator noted that schools can apply for safe schools grants and seek advice from the Center for Safe Schools on development of anti-bullying programs.
The Montgomery/Bucks senator noted that about 20 states have similar laws on bullying. "The notion of ignoring bullying behaviors with the attitude of 'kids will be kids' does not work. Bullying can have serious consequences in terms of emotional damage, escalating violence, and a negative learning experience. Being proactive against bullying will make schools safer and enhance the educational environment," Greenleaf said.
Senate Bill 71 has the support of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and the Pennsylvania State Education Association.