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A Legislative Mandate to Serve Schools

Federal and state statutes are designed to ensure the safety of students while attending school. These statutes work together to provide regulatory guidance to schools on a variety of issues.

The Safe Schools Act of 1995 is the seminal Pennsylvania school safety statute, establishing the Office for Safe Schools and authorizing Pennsylvania Department of Education “to coordinate anti-violence efforts between school, professional, parental, governmental, law enforcement and community organizations and associations.” The Act also requires the Department to provide school entities with information, direct training, technical assistance tools and forms needed to enhance local school safety efforts.

Safe Schools legislation at both the federal and state levels work together to ensure that schools are safe and respectful institutions where learning can occur. Legislation is also in place to ensure that schools engage in an all-hazards planning process in emergency response and crisis management, including prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery activities.

Key Pennsylvania Safe Schools Legislation

  • The Safe Schools Act of 1995 (Act 26) was amended in 1997 (Act 30) to mandate annual reporting of all incidents of violence, weapons, alcohol, drugs and tobacco possession to the Department of Education. Local education agencies also are required to develop a Memorandum of Understanding with local law enforcement agencies and provide for other procedural safeguards to enhance school safety. Another amendment to Act 26 (Act 36 of 1999) empowers schools to acquire the tools and resources needed to develop and enhance safe learning environments.
  • The Emergency Management Services Code requires “every school district, in cooperation with the local emergency Management Agency shall develop and implement emergency preparedness plans,” as well as “disaster response plans.” This Code requires schools to conduct at least one tornado or other disaster drill each year. The Pennsylvania School Code also requires schools to conduct fire drills not less than once per month and to conduct two school bus emergency evacuation drills per year.
  • House Bill 1067 of 2008 amended the Pennsylvania School Code to require districts to adopt or amend anti-bullying policies, which “delineate disciplinary consequences for bullying and may provide for prevention, intervention and education programs.”
  • The State Board of Education Regulations, 22 Pa Code, Parts I-XX, et seq., as amended, require schools to adopt a code of student conduct that includes policies governing student discipline. Schools are required to delineate the types of offenses for which students can be suspended or expelled. This legislation requires schools to adopt reasonable policies and procedures regarding student searches. Student Assistance Programs are also required by this legislation.
  • The Child Protective Services Law, 23 Pa. C.S.A. §§ 6301-6385, et seq., as amended, requires school administrators, teachers and nurses to report suspect child abuse.
  • Department of Health Statutes and Regulations, including the Administrative Code of 1929, 71 P.S. § 532(b), the Disease Prevention and Control Law, 35 P.S. §521.1, et seq., and Communicable and Non-communicable Diseases regulations, 28 Pa. Code, Ch. 27, §27.152, set forth requirements related to the health of students, particularly around the control of communicable and non-communicable disease.
  • Act 104 of 2010 amended sections of the Safe Schools Act of 1995, clarifying the requirements around reporting school violence incidents and mandating the biennial update and re-execution of Memorandums of Understanding with local law enforcement. This Act also mandates the creation of a statewide school safety advisory committee and establishes requirements for dating violence prevention policies and programs.

Act 145 of 1997 (No Tobacco)

Use of tobacco in schools prohibited

Senate Bill No. 1315

Signed into law December 4, 1996
Effective Date February 3, 1997

Center for Safe Schools is providing excerpts of recently enacted legislation that relate to school safety. None of this information should be substituted for discussions and consultation with your district solicitor. The information is provided as a resource.

Use of tobacco in schools prohibited

Section 6306.1

A. Offense defined — A pupil who possesses or uses tobacco in a school building, a school bus or on school property owned by, leased by or under the control of a school district commits a summary offense.

B. Grading — A pupil who commits an offense under this section shall be subject to prosecution initiated by the local school district and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $50 for the benefit of the school district in which such offending pupil resides, and to pay court costs. When a pupil is charged with violating subsection (A), the court may admit the offender to an adjudication alternative as authorized under 24 Pa. C.S. Section 1520 (relating to adjudication alternative program) in lieu of imposing the fine.

C. Nature of offense — A summary offense under this section shall not be a criminal offense of record, shall not be reportable as a criminal offense of record, shall not be reportable as a criminal act and shall not be placed on the criminal record of the offending school-age person if any such record exists.

D. Definitions – As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:
“Pupil.” A person between the ages of 6 and 21 years who is enrolled in school.
“School.” A school operated by a joint board, board of directors or school board where pupils are enrolled in compliance with Article XIII the Act of March 10, 1949 (P.L. 30, No. 14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, including area vocational-technical schools and intermediate units.

“Tobacco.” A lighted or unlighted cigarette, cigar, pipe or other lighted smoking product and smokeless tobacco in any form.

Act 36 of 1999 (School Safety)

Act 36 of 1999

Formerly House Bill 456

Signed June 26, 1999
Effective July 1, 1999

The Center for Safe Schools is providing excerpts of recently enacted legislation that relate to school safety. None of this information should be substituted for discussions and consultation with your district solicitor. The information is provided as a resource.
**Only text related to school safety is included. For a full copy, visit the state’s web site or contact your local senator or representative.

SECTION 3. SECTION 1302-A(C) of the Act, added June 30, 1995 (P.L.220, NO.26), is amended to read:

Section 1302-A. Office for Safe Schools

(C) In addition to the powers and duties set forth under subsection (A), the Office is authorized to make targeted grants to schools to fund programs which address school violence including, but not limited to, the following programs:
1. Conflict resolution or dispute management.
2. Peer helpers programs.
3. Risk assessment, safety-related or violence prevention curricula.
4. Classroom management.
5. Student codes of conduct.
6. Training to undertake a district-wide assessment of risk factors that increase the likelihood of problem behaviors among students.
7. Development and implementation of research-based violence prevention programs that address risk factors to reduce incidents of problem behaviors among students.
8. Comprehensive, district-wide school safety and violence prevention plans.
9. Security planning, purchase of security-related technology which may include metal detectors, protective lighting, surveillance equipment, electronic locksets, deadbolts and theft control devices and training in the use of security-related technology. Security planning and purchase of security-related technology shall be based in safety needs identified by the school entity’s board of directors.
10. Institution of student, staff and visitor identification systems.
11. Establishment or enhancement of school security personnel, including school resource officers.
12. Provision of specialized staff and student training programs, including training for student assistance program team members in elementary, middle and high schools in the referral of students at risk of violent behavior to appropriate community-based services, including mental health services.
13. Alternative education programs provided for in Article XIX-C.
14. Counseling services for students enrolled in alternative education programs.

SECTION 7. Sections 1703-A, 1723-A AND 1726-A of the Act, added June 19, 1997 (P.L.225, NO.22), are amended to read:

SECTION 1703-A. Definitions. -As used in this Article,

“Appeal Board” shall mean the state charter school appeal board established by this Article.

“At-Risk Student” shall mean a student at risk of educational failure because of limited English proficiency, poverty, community factors, truancy, academic difficulties or economic disadvantage.

“Charter School” shall mean an independent public school established and operated under a charter from the local board of school directors and in which students are enrolled or attend. A charter school must be organized as a public, nonprofit corporation. Charters may not be granted to any for-profit entity.

“Department” shall mean the Department of Education of the Commonwealth.

“Local Board of School Directors” shall mean the Board of Directors of a school district in which a proposed or an approved charter school is located.

“Regional Charter school” shall mean an independent public school established and operated under a charter from more than one local board of school directors and in which students are enrolled or attend. A regional charter school must be organized as a public, nonprofit corporation. Charters may not be granted to any for-profit entity.

“School Entity” shall mean a school district, intermediate unit, joint school or area vocational-technical school.

“Secretary” shall mean the Secretary of Education of the Commonwealth.

“State Board” shall mean the State Board of Education of the Commonwealth.

Act 26 of 1995 & Act 30 of 1997 (School Safety)

Safe Schools Act – including the most recent amendments from Act 30 of 1997

Affects the Public School Code. Applies to the public school system. Certain provisions apply to private and parochial schools.

Center for Safe Schools is providing the full text of Act 26 of 1995 and the sections of Act 30 of 1997 which amend it. None of this information should be substituted for discussions and consultation with your district solicitor. The information is provided as a resource.

Act 26 of 1995 and Act 30 of 1997:

  • prohibit possession of weapons and requires expulsion
  • define weapon, school property, and school entity
  • establish the Office of Safe Schools within the Department of Education and lists its powers and duties
  • set forth reporting requirements for incidents of violence and weapons possession
  • require a sworn statement prior to admission to any school entity
  • provide for the transfer, maintenance and availability of records
  • require a one-time cost survey to the legislature

The Act of March 10, 1949 (P.L. 30, No. 14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, amended July 1, 1981 (P.L. 200, No. 62), is amended to read:

SECTION 1317.2

Possession of Weapons Prohibited

(A) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a school district or area vocational-technical school shall expel, for a period of not less than one year, any student who is determined to have brought onto or is in possession of a weapon on any school property, any school-sponsored activity or any public conveyance providing transportation to a school or school-sponsored activity.
(B) Every school district and area vocational-technical school shall develop a written policy regarding expulsions for possession of a weapon as required under this section. Expulsions shall be conducted pursuant to all applicable regulations.
(C) The superintendent of a school district or an administrative director of an area vocational-technical school may recommend modifications of such expulsion requirements for a student on a case-by-case basis. The superintendent or other chief administrative officer of a school entity shall, in the case of an exceptional student, take all steps necessary to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Public Law 91-230, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.).
(D) The provisions of this section shall not apply to the following:
(1) A weapon being used as part of a program approved by an individual who is participating in the program; or
(2) A weapon that is unloaded and is possessed by an individual while traversing school property for the purpose of obtaining access to public or private lands used for lawful hunting, if the entry on school premises is authorized by school authorities.
(E) Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the authority or duty of a school or area vocational-technical school to make an alternative assignment or provide alternative educational services during the period of expulsion.
(1) A school district receiving a student who transfers from a public or private school during a period of expulsion for an act or offense involving a weapon may assign that student to an alternative assignment or provide alternative education services, provided that the assignment may not exceed the period of expulsion.
(F) All school districts and area vocational-technical schools shall report all incidents involving possession of a weapon prohibited by this section as follows:
(1) The school superintendent or chief administrator shall report the discovery of any weapon prohibited by this section to local law enforcement officials.
(2) The school superintendent or chef administrator shall report to the Department of Education all incidents relating to expulsions for possession of a weapon on school grounds, school-sponsored activities or public conveyance providing transportation to a school or school-sponsored activity. Reports shall include all information as required under Section 1302-A.
(H) As used in this section, the term “weapon” shall include, but not be limited to, any knife, cutting tool, nunchaku, firearm, shotgun, rifle and any other tool, instrument or implement capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.

ARTICLE XIII-A. SAFE SCHOOLS.

SECTION 1301-A
Definitions — as used in this article

“Office” shall mean the Office for Safe Schools.
“School Entity” shall mean any public school district, intermediate unit or area vocational-technical school.
“School Property” shall mean any public school grounds, any school-sponsored activity or any conveyance providing transportation to a school entity or school-sponsored activity.
“Weapon” shall include, but not be limited to, any knife, cutting instrument, cutting tool, nunchaku, firearm, rifle and any other tool, instrument or implement capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.

SECTION 1302-A
Office for Safe Schools

(A) There is hereby established in the Department of Education an Office for Safe Schools.
(B) The Office shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) To coordinate anti-violence efforts between school, professional, parental, governmental, law enforcement and community organizations and associations.
(2) To collect, develop and disseminate information, policies, strategies and other information to assist in the development of programs to impact school violence.
(3) To provide direct training to school employees, parents, law enforcement officials and communities on effective measures to combat school violence.
(4) To advise school entities and nonpublic schools on the development of policies to be used regarding possession of weapons by any person, acts of violence and protocols for coordination with and reporting to law enforcement officials and the Department of Education.
(5) To develop forms to be used by school entities for reporting incidents involving acts of violence and possession of weapons on school property.
(C) In addition to the powers and duties set forth under Subsection (A), the Office is authorized to make targeted grants to schools to fund programs which address school violence, including, but not limited to, the following programs:
(1) Conflict Resolution or Dispute Management.
(2) Peer Helpers Programs.
(3) Risk Assessment or Violence Prevention Curricula.
(4) Classroom Management.
(D) Grant applications shall contain information as the Office may require. The Office shall conduct a thorough annual evaluation of each program for which a grant under this section is made.

SECTION 1303-A
Reporting

(A) The Office shall conduct a one-time survey of all school entities to determine the number of incidents involving acts of violence on school property and all cases involving possession of a weapon by any person on school property which occurred within the last five (5) years. The survey shall be based on the best available information provided by school entities.
(B) All school entities shall report 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 at least once a year, as provided by the Office, on a form to be developed and provided by the Office. The form shall include:
(1) Age or grade of student.
(2) Name and address of school.
(3) Circumstances surrounding the incident, including type of weapon, controlled substance, alcohol or tobacco.
(4) Sanction imposed by the school.
(5) Notification of law enforcement.
(6) Remedial programs involved.
(7) Parental involvement required.
(8) Arrests, convictions and adjudications, if known.
If a person other than a student is involved, the report shall state the relationship of the individual involved to the school entity.
(C) All school entities shall develop a Memorandum of Understanding with local law enforcement which sets forth procedures to be followed when an incident involving an act of violence or possession of a weapon by any person occurs on school property. Law enforcement protocols shall be developed in cooperation with local law enforcement and the Pennsylvania State Police.

SECTION 1304
A Sworn Statement

(A) Prior to admission to any school entity, the parent, guardian or other person having control or charge of a student shall, upon registration, provide a sworn statement or affirmation stating whether the pupil was previously or is presently suspended or expelled from any public or private school of this Commonwealth or any other State for an act or offense involving weapons, alcohol or drugs, or for the willful infliction of injury to another person or for any act of violence committed on school property. The registration shall include the name of the school from which the student was expelled or suspended for the above-listed reasons with the dates of expulsion or suspension and shall be maintained as part of the student’s disciplinary record.
(B) Any willful false statement made under this section shall be a misdemeanor of the third degree.

SECTION 1305-A
Transfer of Records

Whenever a pupil transfers to another school entity, a certified copy of the student’s disciplinary record shall be transmitted to the school entity to which the pupil has transferred. The school entity to which the student has transferred should request the record. The sending school entity shall have ten (10) days from receipt of the request to supply a certified copy of the student’s disciplinary record.

SECTION 1306-A
Availability of Records

A student’s disciplinary record as well as records maintained under Section 1307-A shall be available for inspection to the student and his parent, guardian or other person having control or charge of the student, to school officials and to state and local law enforcement officials as provided by law. Permission of the parent, guardian or other person having control or charge of the student shall not be required for transfer of the individual’s student record to another school entity within this commonwealth or in another State in which the student seeks enrollment or is enrolled.

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 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 1308-A
Report

The Secretary of Education shall survey all school districts and nonpublic schools to determine the extent to which additional costs have been incurred in implementing administrative and reporting requirements established for public or nonpublic schools in Section 1317.2 and in Sections 1304-A through 1307-A. The Secretary of Education shall issue a report to the Chairman and the Minority Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and the Education Committee of the Senate and the Appropriations Committee and Education Committee of the House of Representatives by April 1, 1996, concerning the extent to which additional costs have been incurred by school districts and nonpublic schools.

SECTION 1309-A
Technical Assistance

The Department of Education shall provide guidelines and technical assistance to assist school districts and nonpublic schools in implementing the provisions of this act.

TITLE 24 P.S. EDUCATION ARTICLE XIII-A. SAFE SCHOOLS

24 P.S. § 13-1301-A, et seq.

§ 13-1301-A. Definitions

As used in this article,

“Chief school administrator” shall mean the superintendent of a public school district, superintendent of an area vocational-technical school, executive director of an intermediate unit or chief executive officer of a charter school.

“Office” shall mean the Office for Safe Schools within the Department of Education.

“School entity” shall mean any public school district, intermediate unit, area vocational-technical school or charter school.

“School-based diversion programs” shall mean programs that, in partnership with other stakeholders, divert youth out of the juvenile justice system. These programs include, but are not limited to, youth aid panels in which a panel of community members decide an appropriate resolution to hold the student accountable for the student’s actions by, among other options, requiring the student to complete educational activities, community service, restitution and any other related program or service.

“School property” shall mean any public school grounds, any school-sponsored activity or any conveyance providing transportation to a school entity or school-sponsored activity.

“School-wide positive behavior support” means a school-wide, evidence-based and data-driven approach to improving school behavior that seeks to reduce unnecessary student disciplinary actions and promote a climate of greater productivity, safety and learning.

“Student with a disability” shall mean a student who meets the definition of “child with a disability” under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Public Law 91-230, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.) or who meets the definition of a “handicapped person” under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-112, 29 U.S.C. § 794) and its implementing regulations (34 C.F.R. § 104.3(j)). The term includes a student for whom an evaluation is pending under either the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or Rehabilitation Act.

“Weapon” shall include, but not be limited to, any knife, cutting instrument, cutting tool, nunchaku, firearm, shotgun, rifle and any other tool, instrument or implement capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.

§ 13-1302-A. Office for Safe Schools

(a) There is hereby established in the Department of Education an Office for Safe Schools.

(b) The office shall have the power and duty to implement the following:

(1) To coordinate antiviolence efforts between school, professional, parental, governmental, law enforcement and community organizations and associations.

(2) To collect, develop and disseminate information, policies, strategies and other information to assist in the development of programs to impact school violence.

(2.1) To direct all school entities to submit annual school violence statistics and reports to the office no later than July 31 of each year.

(3) To provide direct training to school employes, parents, law enforcement officials and communities on effective measures to prevent and combat school violence.

(4) To advise school entities and nonpublic schools on the development of policies to be used regarding possession of weapons by any person, acts of violence and protocols for coordination with and reporting to law enforcement officials and the Department of Education.

(4.1) To verify the existence of corrective action plans to reduce incidents of violence as required in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Public Law 107-110, 115 Stat. 1425).

(5) To develop forms to be used by school entities and police departments for reporting incidents involving acts of violence and possession of weapons on school property. The forms shall be reviewed on a biennial basis and revised when necessary.

(6) To verify that each school entity has a biennially updated and reexecuted memorandum of understanding with local law enforcement and has filed such memorandum with the office on a biennial basis.

(7) To publish and post on the Department of Education’s Internet website a School Safety Annual Report no later than November 1 of each calendar year outlining all incidents required to be reported under section 1303-A and any school district that failed to submit a report under section 1303-A.

(b.1) The office shall process and tabulate the data on an annual basis to assist school administrators and law enforcement officials in their duties under this article.

(c) In addition to the powers and duties set forth under subsection (b), the office is authorized to make targeted grants to school entities to fund programs which address school violence, including:

(1) Conflict resolution or dispute management, including restorative justice strategies.

(1.1) School-wide positive behavior support that includes primary or universal, secondary and tertiary supports and interventions in school entities.

(1.2) School-based diversion programs.

(2) Peer helpers programs.

(3) Risk assessment, safety-related, violence prevention curricula, including, but not limited to, dating violence curricula and restorative justice strategies.

(4) Classroom management.

(5) Student codes of conduct.

(6) Training to undertake a districtwide assessment of risk factors that increase the likelihood of problem behaviors among students.

(7) Development and implementation of research-based violence prevention programs that address risk factors to reduce incidents of problem behaviors among students including, but not limited to, bullying.

(8) Comprehensive, districtwide school safety and violence prevention plans.

(9) Security planning, purchase of security-related technology which may include metal detectors, protective lighting, surveillance equipment, special emergency communications equipment, electronic locksets, deadbolts and theft control devices and training in the use of security-related technology. Security planning and purchase of security-related technology shall be based on safety needs identified by the school entity’s board of directors.

(10) Institution of student, staff and visitor identification systems, including criminal background check software.

(11) Establishment or enhancement of school security personnel, including school resource officers.

(12) Provision of specialized staff and student training programs, including training for Student Assistance Program team members in elementary, middle and high schools in the referral of students at risk of violent behavior to appropriate community-based services, including mental health services.

(13) Alternative education programs provided for in Article XIX-C.

(14) Counseling services for students enrolled in alternative education programs.

(15) An Internet web-based system for the management of student discipline, including misconduct and criminal offenses.

(16) Staff training programs in the use of positive behavior supports, de-escalation techniques and appropriate responses to student behavior that may require immediate intervention.

(d) (1) Targeted grants shall be allocated through a competitive grant review process established by the office. School entities must satisfy the requirements of this section and section 1303-A to be eligible for grants. The application for a targeted grant shall include:

(i) the purpose for which the targeted grant shall be utilized;

(ii) information indicating need for the targeted grant, including, but not limited to, school violence statistics;

(iii) an estimated budget;

(iv) methods for measuring outcomes; and

(v) any other criteria as the office may require.

(2) The office shall:

(i) Give priority in grant funding to a school entity designated as a persistently dangerous school as defined in 22 Pa. Code § 403.2 (relating to definitions).

(ii) Give priority in grant funding to school entities with the greatest need to establish safety and order.

(iii) To the greatest extent possible, ensure that grant funding is geographically dispersed to school entities throughout this Commonwealth.

(3) The office shall provide all targeted grant agreements to the Department of Education’s comptroller for review and approval prior to awarding the grant. The school entity shall provide the office with full and complete access to all records relating to the performance of the grant, and shall submit, at such time and in such form as may be prescribed, truthful and accurate information that the office may require. The office shall conduct a thorough annual evaluation of each program for which a grant under this section is made. The office shall seek repayment of funds if it determines that funds were not utilized for the original stated purpose.

§ 13-1302.1-A. Regulations

(a) Within one year of the effective date of this section, the State Board of Education shall promulgate final-omitted regulations pursuant to the act of June 25, 1982 (P.L. 633, No. 181), known as the “Regulatory Review Act,” necessary to implement this article. The regulations shall include the following:

(1) A model memorandum of understanding between school entities and local police departments. The model memorandum of understanding shall be reviewed on a biennial basis and revised where necessary.

(2) Protocol for the notification of the police department when an offense listed under section 1303-A(b)(4.1) occurs on school property, which shall include a requirement that the local police department be notified immediately when such an offense occurs.

(3) Protocol for the notification of the police department at the discretion of the chief school administrator regarding an offense listed under section 1303-A(b)(4.2) or any other offense that occurs on school property.

(4) Protocol for emergency and nonemergency response by the police department, which shall include a requirement that the school district shall supply the police department with a copy of the comprehensive disaster response and emergency preparedness plan as required by 35 Pa.C.S. § 7701(g)(relating to duties concerning disaster prevention).

(5) Procedures and protocols for the response and handling of students with a disability, including procedures related to student behavior as required by 22 Pa. Code § 14.104 (relating to special education plans) and 14.133 (relating to positive behavior support).

(b)(1) In promulgating the regulations required under subsection (a), the State Board of Education shall convene and consult with a Statewide advisory committee which shall include a police chief, juvenile public defender, school superintendent, school principal, district attorney, solicitor of a school district, special education supervisor, special education advocate and in-school probation officer and one designee from the Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission, the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission and the Pennsylvania State Police.

(2) Members of the committee shall be selected to be representative of the rural, suburban and urban school entities of this Commonwealth.

(3) The advisory committee shall be convened no later than sixty (60) days after the effective date of this section and shall meet regularly to fulfill the requirements of this section.

§ 13-1303-A. Reporting

(a) The office shall conduct a one-time survey of all school entities to determine the number of incidents involving acts of violence on school property and all cases involving possession of a weapon by any person on school property which occurred within the last five (5) years. The survey shall be based on the best available information provided by school entities.

(b) 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:
(1) Age or grade of student.

(2) Name and address of school.

(3) Circumstances surrounding the incident, including, but not limited to, type of weapon, controlled substance, alcohol or tobacco, the date, time and location of the incident, if a person other than a student is involved in the incident and any relationship to the school entity.

(3.1) Race of student.

(3.2) 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.

(4) Sanction imposed by the school.

(4.1) A list of criminal offenses which shall, at a minimum, 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 2709.1 (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, 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).

(4.2) The following offenses under 18 Pa.C.S., and any attempt, solicitation or conspiracy to commit any of these offenses:

Section 2701 (relating to simple assault).

Section 2705 (relating to recklessly endangering another person).

Section 2706 (relating to terroristic threats).

Section 2709 (relating to harassment).

Section 3127 (relating to indecent exposure).

Section 3307 (relating to institutional vandalism) when the penalty is a misdemeanor of the second degree.

Section 3503(b)(1)(i), (ii), (iii) and (iv), (b.1) and (b.2) (relating to criminal trespass).

Chapter 39 (relating to theft and related offenses).

Section 5502 (relating to failure of disorderly persons to disperse upon official order).

Section 5503 (relating to disorderly conduct).

Section 6305 (relating to sale of tobacco).

Section 6306.1 (relating to use of tobacco in schools prohibited).

Section 6308 (relating to purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor or malt or brewed beverages).

(5) Notification of law enforcement.

(6) Remedial programs involved.

(7) Parental involvement required.

(8) Arrests, convictions and adjudications, if known.

(b.1) Prior to submitting the report required under subsection (b), each chief school administrator and each police department having jurisdiction over school property of the school entity shall do all of the following:

(1) No later than thirty (30) days prior to the deadline for submitting the report to the office required under subsection (b), the chief school administrator shall submit the report to the police department with jurisdiction over the relevant school property. The police department shall review the report and compare the data regarding criminal offenses and notification of law enforcement to determine whether the report accurately reflects police incident data.

(2) No later than fifteen (15) days prior to the deadline for the chief school administrator to submit the report required under subsection (b), the police department shall notify the chief school administrator, in writing, whether the report accurately reflects police incident data. Where the police department determines that the report accurately reflects police incident data, the chief of police shall sign the report. Where the police department determines that the report does not accurately reflect police incident data, the police department shall indicate any discrepancies between the report and police incident data.

(3) Prior to submitting the report required under subsection (b), the chief school administrator and the police department shall attempt to resolve discrepancies between the report and police incident data. Where a discrepancy remains unresolved, the police department shall notify the chief school administrator and the office in writing.

(4) Where a police department fails to take action as required under paragraph (2) or (3), the chief school administrator shall submit the report required under subsection (b) and indicate that the police department failed to take action as required under paragraph (2) or (3).

(c) Each chief school administrator shall form an advisory committee composed of relevant school staff, including, but not limited to, principals, security personnel, school resource officers, guidance counselors and special education administrators, to assist in the development of a memorandum of understanding pursuant to this section. In consultation with the advisory committee, each chief school administrator shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with police departments having jurisdiction over school property of the school entity. Each chief school administrator shall submit a copy of the memorandum of understanding to the office by June 30, 2011, and biennially update and re-execute a memorandum of understanding with local law enforcement and file such memorandum with the office on a biennial basis. The memorandum of understanding shall be signed by the chief school administrator, the chief of police of the police department with jurisdiction over the relevant school property and principals of each school building of the school entity. The memorandum of understanding shall comply with the regulations promulgated by the State Board of Education under section 1302.1-A and shall also include:

(1) The procedure for police department review of the semiannual report required under subsection (b) prior to the chief school administrator filing the report required under subsection (b) with the office.

(2) A procedure for the resolution of school violence data discrepancies in the report prior to filing the report required under subsection (b) with the office.

(3) Additional matters pertaining to crime prevention agreed to between the chief school administrator and the police department.

(d) Pursuant to section 615 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Public Law 91-230, 20 U.S.C. § 1415(k)(6)), nothing in section 1302.1-A or this section shall be construed to prohibit a school entity from reporting a crime committed by a child with a disability to appropriate authorities or to prevent State law enforcement and judicial authorities from exercising their responsibilities with regard to the application of Federal and State law to crimes committed by a child with a disability.

(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 or principal of a school entity who intentionally fails to submit the report as required under subsection (b) or 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 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 or principal of a school entity who intentionally fails to submit the report as required under subsection (b) or 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.

§ 13-1303.1-A. Policy relating to bullying

(a) No 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 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 the appropriate school staff person to receive reports of incidents of alleged bullying.

(b) Each school entity shall make the policy available on its publicly accessible Internet website, if available, and in every classroom. Each school entity shall post the policy at a prominent location within each school building where such notices are usually posted. Each school entity shall ensure that the policy and procedures for reporting bullying incidents are reviewed with students within ninety (90) days after their adoption and thereafter at least once each school year.

(c) Each school entity shall review its policy every three (3) years and annually provide the office 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 required under this subsection shall be attached to or made part of the annual report required under section 1303-A(b).

(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). 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 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.

24 P.S. § 15-1553

§ 15-1553. Dating violence education

(a) The department, through its Office for Safe Schools, and in consultation with the State Board of Education, shall:

(1) Develop, within six (6) months of the effective date of this section, a model dating violence policy to assist school districts in developing policies for dating violence reporting and response.

(2) Consult with at least one (1) domestic violence center and at least one (1) rape crisis center in developing the model dating violence policy.

(b)(1) Each school district may establish a specific policy to address incidents of dating violence involving students at school.

(2) The policy may include, but need not be limited to: a statement that dating violence will not be tolerated; violence reporting procedures; discipline procedures for students that commit violence at school; and contact information for and resources available through domestic violence programs and rape crisis programs.

(3) A school district that establishes the policy shall:

(i) Publish the policy in any school district policy or handbook that specifies the comprehensive rules, procedures and standards of conduct for students at school.

(ii) Make the policy available on its publicly available Internet website.

(iii) Provide parents and guardians with a copy of the policy.

(4) The State Board of Education shall conduct a study of the benefits and detriments of mandatory dating violence education and shall submit a report of its recommendations to the chairman and minority chairman of the Education Committee of the Senate and the chairman and minority chairman of the Education Committee of the House of Representatives within three (3) years of the effective date of this section.

(c)(1) A school district may provide dating violence training to guidance counselors, nurses and mental health staff at the high school level. Upon the recommendation of the district superintendent, other staff may be included or may attend the training on a voluntary basis. The school district may also provide dating violence training to parents.

(2) The dating violence training may include, but need not be limited to: basic principles of dating violence; warning signs of dating violence; the school district’s dating violence policy; appropriate responses to incidents of dating violence at school; and services and resources available through domestic violence programs and rape crisis programs.

(d)(1) A school district may incorporate dating violence education that is age appropriate into the annual health curriculum framework for students in grades nine (9) through twelve (12). In developing such a policy, the school district shall consult with at least one (1) domestic violence program or rape crisis program that serves the region where the school district is located.

(2) Dating violence education may include, but need not be limited to: defining dating violence and recognizing dating violence warning signs; characteristics of healthy relationships; information regarding peer support and the role friends and peers have in addressing dating violence; and contact information for and the services and resources available through domestic violence centers and rape crisis centers, including detailed information concerning safety planning, availability and enforcement of protection from abuse orders and the availability of other services and assistance for students and their families.

(3) The department, through its Office for Safe Schools, in consultation with at least one (1) domestic violence center and at least one (1) rape crisis center, shall provide school districts with grade-appropriate educational materials regarding dating violence and healthy relationships for the purpose of assisting school districts in preparing an instructional program on dating violence. The department may use educational materials that are already publicly available for this purpose.

(4) A parent or legal guardian of a student who is under eighteen (18) years of age, within a reasonable period of time after the request is made, shall be permitted to examine the dating violence education program instructional materials at the school in which the student is enrolled.

(5) At the request of a parent or guardian, a student shall be excused from all or parts of the dating violence education program. The principal shall notify all parents or guardians of their ability to withdraw their children from instruction in the program by returning a signed opt-out form.

(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing a person from seeking judicial relief from dating violence under any other law or as establishing or modifying any civil liability.

(f) As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

“At school.” The term shall have the meaning given to school property as defined in section 1301-A.

“Dating partner.” A person, regardless of gender, involved in an intimate relationship with another person, primarily characterized by the expectation of affectionate involvement, whether casual, serious or long term.

“Dating violence.” Behavior where one person uses threats of, or actually uses, physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse to control the person’s dating partner.

“Department.” The Department of Education of the Commonwealth.

“Domestic violence center.” The term shall have the meaning given in section 2333 of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L. 177, No. 175), known as “The Administrative Code of 1929.”

“Domestic violence program.” The term shall have the meaning given in section 2333 of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L. 177, No. 175), known as “The Administrative Code of 1929.”

“Rape crisis center.” The term shall have the meaning given in section 2333 of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L. 177, No. 175), known as “The Administrative Code of 1929.”

“Rape crisis program.” The term shall have the meaning given in section 2333 of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L. 177, No. 175), known as “The Administrative Code of 1929.”

Act 2010-104 legislation

Section 23 of 2010, Nov. 17, P.L. 996, No. 104, effective in 60 days [Jan. 18, 2011], provides that “[t]he General Assembly finds and declares, in the enactment of section 1553 of the act [24 P.S. § 15-1553], the following:

“(1) Criminal acts committed against teenagers by other young persons are a serious problem in this Commonwealth.

“(2) Many of the criminal acts take the form of dating violence.

“(3) On August 15, 2007, Demi Brae Cuccia, a 16-year-old student at Gateway High School in Monroeville, Allegheny County, was fatally stabbed 16 times by her former boyfriend, who then made an unsuccessful attempt to take his own life.

“(4) The 18-year-old person arrested for the brutal attack was convicted of first degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

“(5) In order to educate teens and their parents regarding teen dating violence, the family of Demi Brae Cuccia has established the Demi Brae Awareness Organization.

“(6) Students in our secondary schools should be educated about the dangers of teen dating violence so that other teenagers will not have to share the same fate as Demi Brae Cuccia.”

24 P.S. § 15-1553, PA ST 24 P.S. § 15-1553

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