Clymer Leads House Education Committee in Public Hearing of Anti-Bullying Legislation
HARRISBURG – Rep. Paul Clymer (R-Bucks), chairman of the House Education Committee, this week held a public hearing on legislation requiring Pennsylvania schools to enhance their bullying policies and improve compliance regulations.
“Students face a lot of challenges and situations as they grow, socialize and become young adults; however, one challenge no student should have to endure is being the target of bullying,” said Clymer. “In the past several years we have seen headline-making cases of students being tormented and even driven to suicide as the result of cruel and systematic bullying through physical encounters, gossip, photographs, and harassment through emails, social media and texting. Our public schools should be a place where children can learn in a safe and nurturing environment and we, as legislators, need to do all we can to make sure that type of environment is supported.”
According to the 2009 Pennsylvania Youth Survey, the most recent statistics compiled by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, nearly 12 percent of all students in grades six, eight, 10 and 12 across Pennsylvania said they’ve been bullied through use of the Internet and their cell phones. The survey indicated that non-physical forms of bullying are the most prevalent among youth, as more than one half of Pennsylvania students reported that other students tell lies about them or spread false rumors, 43 percent have been called names or teased, and more than 30 percent have been left out of things on purpose.
House Bill 2464 would prohibit any student from being harrassed, intimidated, bullied or cyberbullied in any public educational institution:
• During any education program or activity.
• While in school, on school equipment or property, in school vehicles, on school
buses, at designated school bus stops, at school-sponsored activities and/or at
school sanctioned events.
• Through the use of data, telephone or computer software that is accessed
through a computer, computer system or computer network of any public
The legislation would also ensure a policy is in place that identifies the appropriate school staff person to receive reports of incidents of alleged bullying, and the school officials responsible for ensuring the policy is implemented.
Testifiers included in the hearing were representatives from the Pennsylvania State Education Association; Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware Anti-Defamation League; Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office; Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey Regional Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Pennsylvania School Employee Association (PSEA); and the Pennsylvania State NAACP Education Committee.
The testifiers were overwhelmingly in favor of stronger anti-bullying legislation, and many offered suggestions on language they would like to have included or modified within the proposal to further strengthen the law and make implementation and compliance more manageable.
“Today’s hearing clearly demonstrated the severity and prevalence of bullying and cyberbullying in our schools,” said Clymer. “This is an important issue that needs to be addressed if we are to provide students with a quality education in an environment in which they feel safe to learn and grow as individuals. I was pleased with the discussion today and look forward to making progress on this very important issue.”
House Bill 2464 is now poised for a vote by the House Education Committee.
State Representative Paul Clymer
145th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman