Gov. Tom Corbett is likely to sign a local lawmaker's bill that would require Pennsylvania school districts to train teachers and other school workers on how to recognize the signs of child abuse and how to report it to authorities.
A time for the governor to sign the bill has not yet been scheduled, said Janet Kelley, Corbett's deputy director of communications.
The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Pat Vance, passed the Senate on Monday. It would mandate that school employees receive three hours of training every five years.
"Educators, under state law, are mandatory reporters of child abuse, but were not always given the tools necessary to identify child abuse in its many forms," Vance said. "When I realized teachers had a legal obligation to report their suspicions but no framework in which to evaluate what they saw, I introduced this legislation to close the policy gap."
Vance said earlier this month that she introduced the bill in February 2011. At first, response to the legislation was lukewarm, as some characterized the bill as "overkill" and an unnecessary mandate.
Then, in the fall, allegations of a child sex abuse scandal involving former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky made national headlines. Suddenly, she said, the naysayers changed their tune about her bill.
Vance, a Republican, represents the state's 31st Senate District, which includes all of Cumberland County and part of northern York County.
-- Erin James may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.