State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Child abuse awareness for PA's K-8 curricula?

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Sep 20, 2012 6:15 PM

Thumbnail image for capital_dome_cropped.jpgThe state hasn’t seen the last of legislative proposals written in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. A bipartisan push is on to bring child abuse awareness into the lesson plans of Pennsylvania schools.

School districts wouldn’t have to teach children how to recognize child abuse and protect themselves from it, but they would have the option, under a state House proposal sponsored by Rep. Gingrich (R-Lebanon).

Adding something to school curricula to raise awareness about abuse, she said, could help the children who are being preyed upon.

“Most children don’t possess the skills to verbalize what’s happening to them and they truly fear that no one will understand them or believe them,” said Gingrich. “The best defense that we can provide our children is knowledge.”

The state Department of Education would create model curricula for kindergarten through eighth grade that would include instruction on “how to recognize dangerous situations and the warning signs of grooming and testing the child before actual abuse can take place,” said Gingrich.

School districts could use the state’s model curriculum, or create their own lesson plans. Parents would be able to review the abuse awareness curriculum, and even pull their kids out of class if they don’t approve of the material.

The bill was introduced last spring and awaits a vote from the state House Education committee. Both the panel’s chairman, Rep. Paul Clymer (R-Bucks) and ranking Democrat, Rep. James Roebuck (Philadelphia) said they support the measure.

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