About the Children: Policy Updates from Pennsylvania

Happy Friday, everybody!

PA

HB 2074 – This legislation was introduced in the House this week.  It would require Pennsylvania schools to report any and all suicide attempts and completions that occur on school grounds.  Currently, such reporting is optional.  “In essence, we require school districts to report a criminal charge from a pushing match in the cafeteria but we leave it entirely to their discretion to report that a student has tragically attempted to or has taken their life while on school grounds…Additionally, our proposal would be subject to the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 to ensure that such reporting by districts does not reveal identifying information concerning any individual student….By mandating school reporting of attempted and committed suicides, we will have a better understanding as to the scope of this problem which will hopefully lead us to new ideas that will reduce suicide.”

HB 2095 – This legislation was also sponsored by Representative D. Miller.  This is a re-introduction of previous legislation that would “require a brain health/mental health check-up, which at a minimum shall include a depression screening, for each student in the Commonwealth no later than age 14….To respect parental rights, our bill allows parents to choose who conducts the screen and also allows them to opt their child out of this requirement if they so choose (although that is not our hope). The cost of the depression screens will not be passed onto our school districts as the Affordable Care Act has mandated that all insurance policies must cover them (this includes the CHIP program).”

HB 631 – This legislation has been around for almost a year.  Introduced and passed by the house, amended and passed by the Senate, and then passed again by both the House and Senate.  It goes before the Governor this week.  This bill is aimed at installing a mandatory three-year period of court supervision for Tier III sex offenders who are released after serving their maximum sentence.


Federal

S. 534 – “A bill to prevent the sexual abuse of minors and amateur athletes by requiring the prompt reporting of sexual abuse to law enforcement authorities, and for other purposes.”  This was signed by the President this week.


Uplifting News

Our uplifting new story this week comes out of both Illinois and Puerto Rico simultaneously.  A little boy dedicated his birthday presents to children in a small town in Puerto Rico, which set off a domino effect that ended with the school in Puerto Rico getting its power turned back on!  Even the smallest kids can make a difference!

Happy Friday!

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