Sappey trauma informed education bill moves forward

HARRISBURG, June 14 – Legislation (H.B. 1415 and S.B. 200) that state Reps. Christina Sappey, D-Chester, and prime co-sponsor Ryan Mackenzie, R-Lehigh/Berks, introduced with state Sens. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia/Montgomery, and Patrick Browne, R-Lehigh, would implement trauma-informed approaches to education. These initiatives have received overwhelming support from both parties, as well as state and national organizations.

Both bills would instill trauma-informed focused policies, procedures and practices inside the classroom, such as requiring teachers and staff in schools to receive training on recognizing the signs of childhood trauma and methods on helping these students overcome obstacles they face in school.

S.B. 200 unanimously passed the Senate Education and Appropriations committees on June 12 and is positioned to move to the full Senate next week, followed by the House Education Committee before the legislature adjourns for the summer.

“I’m glad to see there’s bipartisan support for this important legislation from both chambers. We have a real opportunity to change lives, and it’s entirely possible to begin immediately,” Sappey said. “We need empathetic, trauma-informed approaches in our schools to ensure every student has a chance to succeed, regardless of adverse childhood experiences.”

Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, include all forms of abuse, neglect and other potentially traumatic experiences that occur to people under the age of 18. The more ACEs one child has, the greater the probability for high-risk health behaviors, chronic health conditions, emotional and behavioral dysfunction and early death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.