Bellmon, McClinton school conflict resolution bill passes House

HARRISBURG, July 7 – Today, legislation (H.B. 1448) introduced by state Rep. Anthony Bellmon, D-Phila., and Pennsylvania House Speaker Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, passed the House and is headed to the Senate for consideration.

The bill would require public schools to provide instruction on conflict resolution to all students.

The instruction would include topics such as skills of conflict resolution; respect for different cultures, races, and beliefs; effectively managing emotions; and how to resolve differences peacefully. The bill also would require the instruction to be age-appropriate and incorporated into an appropriate area of study. The Department of Education would compose a list of evidence-based model programs schools could use to provide this instruction to students.

Bellmon said that teaching conflict resolution in schools can help reduce violence.

“In areas across the commonwealth, such as Philadelphia, we’re seeing far too many young lives taken by gun violence,” Bellmon said. “It’s imperative that our children know that conflicts can be resolved in a non-violent way, and that’s why I introduced this bill that can help prevent unnecessary violence and even save lives.”

McClinton echoed Bellmon’s sentiment.

“Everyone has a role in keeping our communities healthy and safe, and by equipping our youngest neighbors with the tools to manage their emotions and resolve disagreements, we can help reduce gun violence and strengthen our communities for generations,” McClinton said.

Bellmon noted this is his first piece of legislation to pass the House. He called on the Senate to pass it and deliver it to the governor’s desk.