State Legislators Unveil 14-Bill Package to Help Create Safer and Healthier Schools (May 10, 2019)

On Wednesday, May 8th, in the spirit of creating a safer and healthier school environment for Pennsylvania’s schoolchildren, a 14-bill “Beyond Safe Schools” package has been proposed by legislators. Those legislators – all democrats – are proposing an increase in funding to hire school staff that are primarily in the pupil services field (i.e., counselors, school nurses and social workers). School librarians are also included in the funding proposal.

One bill is offering a bill to cut in half the student-to-school nurse ratio from the current 1,500:1 to 750:1. Another bill would increase funding to schools that serve students who are homeless, chronically absent, and in foster care; would fund a study to determine a means whereby schools can measure the number of students experiencing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and trauma in their lives; and would provide funding for pupil services staff (e.g., social workers and psychologists)  to help afflicted students.

Other bills in the package would increase training requirements for school police officers and security officers; mandate pediatricians to do depression screenings, reporting the number of suicides and attempted suicides on school grounds to the PA Office of Safe Schools; and require instruction regarding bullying prevention and cultural diversity.