Mackenzie Co-Sponsors Pennsylvania Safe Schools Act
4/26/2013

House Bill 156 would streamline reporting procedures for school administrators

EMMAUS – With the safety and security of public schools at the forefront of concern across the Commonwealth, state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Berks/Lehigh) has co-sponsored legislation dubbed the Pennsylvania Safe Schools Act, which was unveiled Thursday at a press conference at the state Capitol.

“After the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, several different safety and security measures have been suggested by members of the community and Legislature,” said Mackenzie. “I support House Bill 156 because it is designed to enhance the ways that our school districts prevent and respond to bullying in our schools.”

School districts are currently required to submit annual safe schools reports that take a great deal of time to produce. This legislation, if enacted, would streamline that process so that more data can be reported with considerably less effort by school administrators. This would enable administrators to focus more of their time on preventing bullying in our schools and providing our students with a positive and safe learning environment.

House Bill 156 would require all teachers to complete a bullying prevention training program every five years. It would also establish the most essential protections in school for students, educators and administrators; and require such acts be reported to the state.

Specifically, this legislation would require clearer definitions, follow-up requirements, and an online system for recording, tracking and reporting incidents of bullying in Pennsylvania schools. The system would enforce deadlines for investigations and would generate reports and send email updates to school and state officials.

According to national statistics, children who are bullied often experience negative physical, school, and mental health issues. In fact, bullied children are at high risk to retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.

“Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is not immune to tragedies such as those that have recently shaken our nation and our community has recently experienced bomb threats at Emmaus High School,” said Mackenzie. “While they were luckily false alarms and our local law enforcement officers have worked hard to apprehend those involved, it was a reminder that our schools need to continue improving safety plans to prevent crises.”

The House of Representatives has also formed a bipartisan House Select Committee on School Safety and Security through recent passage of House Resolution 53, of which Mackenzie supports.

This committee is conducting a detailed study of school safety and security procedures then issue a report of its findings and recommendations by Sept. 30 to the full House.

For more legislative information, visit Mackenzie’s website at RepMackenzie.com or follow his legislative Facebook at Facebook.com/RepMackenzie.

Representative Ryan Mackenzie
134th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact:  Lauren Whetzel
717.260.6451
lwhetzel@pahousegop.com
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