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Lawmakers debate bill to help stop bullying

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 11 2012 10:12:02 PM CDT

Anti-bullying bill proposed in Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. -

Pennsylvania lawmakers had their first public hearing on Wednesday on House Bill 2464, which doubles down on bullying in schools.

In House Bill 2464, introduced by Republican Representative Thomas Quigley, the state's school code would adopt new language related to bullying including harassment, intimidation, and cyber-bullying.

It would allow schools to put procedures in place where people can report bullying anonymously and form bullying prevention task forces.

Schools would also be able to receive annual training for staff and administrators on how to respond to and report bullying.

Under the plan, Pennsylvania's Department of Education would develop a model policy as well as training materials to be used by school districts, and the department would have to report once a year to the General Assembly on the status of bullying in Pennsylvania schools.

It's reform Representative Pat Harkins , a Democrat who sits on the House Education Committee says is needed.

“I do think there is a need to revamp or re-align some of the laws that we have on the books and I think going forward this legislation would be a good step” said Harkins.

Even so, Harkins says additional language needs to be added for the protection of others.

“More checks in place so that if there is a whistle blower that their complaints are legitimate and that somebody isn't harmed negatively by somebody with a different intention” Harkins said.