Parents, educators press Pa. lawmakers for guidelines on bullying

    Pennsylvania House lawmakers are struggling to find a way to help schools deal with bullying.

    Rep. Dan Truitt, R-Chester, says he’s not sure schools are taking bullying seriously, given the way they’re responding to existing state mandates.

    “Our current state law requires school districts to report incidents of bullying to the state just in terms of the numbers, how many incidents they had,” he said. “And a number of them, about 200 school districts, report none at all.

    Truitt has proposed legislation requiring districts to develop more comprehensive plans to respond to cases of bullying.

    A number of educators say they’re uneasy about implementing policies to define, prevent, and respond to bullying in schools without the state setting down clear guidelines.

    And schools are inconsistent in their policies to address bullying, said Susan Lozada with Allentown School District.

    “There are times when administrators get it, educators get it, and then it really is the luck of the draw,” she said Thursday.

    One advocate from a group representing parents of children with disabilities said bullying should be defined by what “hurts and harms.”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal