HARRISBURG, September 6, 2017 — As part of ongoing efforts to prevent sexual violence on college campuses, state Sen. Vincent Hughes has introduced legislation that would expand Pennsylvania’s Office of Safe Schools to cover postsecondary institutions.
This expansion, which is part of the Wolf Administration’s six-bill “It’s on Us PA” initiative, would monitor and enforce existing federal and state requirements related to sexual violence prevention and response at Pennsylvania colleges and universities.
“It’s on all of us to directly address and prevent sexual violence, especially at our schools,” said Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery). “Expanding the role of the Office of Safe Schools will provide much-needed resources and support to school districts and colleges while working to ensure that Pennsylvania’s schools are free from violence of all kinds.
“I applaud the governor for bringing the nationwide ‘It’s on Us’ campaign to Pennsylvania and I’m pleased to be a part of this initiative to make the sexual violence prevention a priority.”
The Office of Safe Schools within the Pennsylvania Department of Education currently coordinates school safety and security programs, collection of the annual school violence statistics, coordination of antiviolence efforts, and development of policies and strategies to combat school violence, while supporting and providing technical assistance and professional development programs to local school entities.
“The Office of Safe Schools provides crucial services and protections in our schools to ensure that students are learning in a safe and supportive environment,” Hughes said. “This bill will allow the office to provide valuable services to Pennsylvania’s postsecondary institutions, provide policy development assistance, and promote compliance with all laws and requirements related to the prevention of sexual violence.”