Trauma-informed education legislation becomes law
KENNETT SQUARE, July 2 – Legislation to implement trauma-informed education in Pennsylvania schools has been signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf, largely thanks to a bill authored by state Rep. Christina Sappey, D-Chester.
Earlier this year H.B. 1415 and S.B. 200, which would implement approaches to student learning that recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma and integrates that knowledge into education-based policies, learning, procedures and practices, was introduced by state Reps. Christina Sappey, D-Chester, and prime co-sponsor Ryan Mackenzie, R-Lehigh/Berks, with state Sens. Vincent Hughes, D-Phila./Montgomery, and Patrick Browne, R-Lehigh.
During the budget process, H.B. 1415 and S.B. 200 were incorporated into S.B. 144 and ultimately passed the legislature.
“This is all a part of the legislative process in Harrisburg. The important thing is that the policy is being implemented,” Sappey said. “This bill will better equip teachers and other school employees to help children who have experienced trauma, or Adverse Childhood Experiences, succeed by implementing mandatory training. The training will cover how to identify the signs of trauma among students, how to utilize multi-tiered support systems, and recognizing schoolwide policies related to positive behavior supports, restorative justice and resiliency.”
Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, include all forms of abuse, neglect and other potentially traumatic experiences that occur to people younger than 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.
Additionally, the law will require individuals pursuing a degree in education to take courses on trauma-informed approaches to create a more promising future for children of all ages and backgrounds in Pennsylvania.