About Philadelphia Apartments

Welcome to the Philadelphia Pennsylvania blog. This blog contains a wealth of information about Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Apartment living, and housing opportunities in our great city and other metro areas of the U.S.. Learn about efforts at restoring architectural relics of the past - former factories, warehouses, schools, hotels, hospitals, train stations - into first-class houses and apartments, and in preserving these distinguished residential communities for future generations. Please enjoy your stay on our Philadelphia apartments blog and feel free to share your stories on life in Philly and the city of brotherly love. In addition, we welcome all commentaries regarding building remodeling, home remodeling, kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, and house hunting. Thank You!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pennsylvania Schools Under Heavy Scrutiny by Senate


The Disability Rights Network and The Arc of PA have posted a survey to look for families who have had children abused in our Pennsylvania schools :

    “Senator Fontana, together with 33 co-sponsors, has introduced Senate Bill 1243 which would ensure greater protections for children who are the victims of abuse by school employees in Pennsylvania. Current PA law provides that if there is a case of suspected child abuse in which the alleged perpetrator is a school employee, there is no requirement to report that abuse unless it rises to the level of a “serious bodily injury” which is equivalent to the loss of a limb or an organ that stops functioning, sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation. ChildLine does not have responsibility for referral or initial investigation of those cases; rather it is local law enforcement that investigates and the process is entirely different from that for any other caretaker who is suspected of child abuse. The bill would delete the specific subsection that applies only to school employees and instead, include school employees in the general provisions of the Child Protective Services Law to ensure that all suspected cases of child abuse by persons responsible for a child's welfare are treated the same. The Disability Rights Network and The Arc of PA strongly support Senate Bill 1243 and are seeking family and advocate input that would help move this legislation forward.”

The legislation comes at an interesting time when the use of Restraint and Seclusion in schools is under heavy scrutiny in the U.S. Until now, Pennsylvania has taken a back seat approach to what constitutes lawful use of restraint and seclusion to children with disabilities. The law has stated that it may be used “to control acute or episodic aggressive or self-injurious behavior [and] may be used only when the student is acting in a manner as to be a clear and present danger to himself, to other students or to employees, and only when less restrictive measures and techniques have proven to be or are less effective.”

Even so, there has been little enforcement of this law. There also has been little a family can do when restraints are being misused as a form of punishment. Because the restraint laws fall under Pennsylvania Education Code, Chapter 14, Special Education Services and Programs, the only recourse a family has is a Due Process hearing in front of a state appointed hearing officer. No formal legal sanctions are ever decided in these cases and no criminal charges are ever pursued by the state.

Senate Bill 1243 could open the doors to better protections for students with disabilities in our PA Schools. If an employee is using restraint and seclusion to punish a child, this could be construed as child abuse, especially if injury occurs. Additionally, it sends a message that abuse will no longer be tolerated regardless of the abusers status or credentials within a school system.

While this bill may not protect children from psychological abuse, it may be the starting point to holding school employees as responsible as parents in ensuring our children are treated humanly in our school systems.

No comments: