On Thursday, June 20,the House of Representatives voted to approve Rep. David Maloney’s (R-Berks) child protection legislation, moving it to the Senate for further consideration.
As a member of the House Children and Youth Committee, Maloney developed House Bill 434 from concerns he has had for years about the different legal standard between teachers and other professionals in the requirements to alert police to potential child abuse. The recent Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal has highlighted the need for such legislation.
“This bill would apply the same standards for reporting suspected child abuse to school employees as those that exist for other employees of other workplaces,” Maloney said. “So, when a school employee suspects another school employee of abusing a student, the standard for substantiating abuse, the reporting requirements and procedures, and the investigative response is the same as it is elsewhere.”
Coincidentally, the Task Force on Child Protection the General Assembly created last year to review Pennsylvania’s child protection laws has recommended just such a law to prevent the lack of reporting abuse that occurred at Penn State University when Sandusky was an assistant football coach there. To date, the House has passed and sent to the Senate more than a dozen pieces of legislation based on the task force’s recommendations.
“As a member of the Children and Youth Committee, I am very proud of the fact that the House has taken the lead in addressing the many problems with our child safety statutes that became apparent when the Sandusky case went to trial, and so I am hopeful the Senate will soon take up this legislation.” Maloney said. “We need to fix the gaps in our laws that leave our children vulnerable to the predators which, sadly, continue to exist in our society.”