Image Map

Bill Toughens Child Abuse Reporting Requirements in Schools
October 18, 2013
HARRISBURG-Legislation has cleared the Pennsylvania Senate that would require all school employees to report suspected child abuse to law enforcement – and not just to their school supervisor.

Senator Wayne Fontana of Pittsburgh is the sponsor of the legislation, which passed the Senate this week on a 49-0 vote.

 “My legislation would help protect our kids and ensure their safety in schools. It does away with the separate reporting requirement for schools and mandates that suspected child abuse be reported within 24 hours to the proper authorities for investigation, and not just the school employees’ supervisor.”

First introduced in 2005, Senator Fontana’s proposal would remove the different reporting requirement for school employees and put them on the same level as other mandated reporters. The senator’s measure requires that an incident be reported directly to Childline or the police. It covers all students, from kindergarten through college.

The Allegheny County lawmaker says he authored the bill after receiving a call from an upset mother who said her son had been transported from school to an emergency room. The child had bleeding brush burns, choke marks around his neck and broken blood vessels in his face — all caused by a teacher. Senator Fontana says that even though the mother, emergency room doctor and social worker all tried reporting the incident to Childline, they were told that state law prevented investigation because the injuries were not deemed serious enough.

Senate Bill 31 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Weather Forecast