Pennsylvania Ponders Bill Requiring Schools More Accurately Report Violence

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Dauphin County District Attorney Edward M. Marsico Jr. and police chiefs from Swatara and Susquehanna townships are supporting a law that would require Pennsylvania schools do a better job of reporting violent crimes to the state.

If the reporting bill passes, police would be authorized to review school crime reports before they are submitted to the state. School officials could also be prosecuted if they fail to notify police of violent crimes committed at schools.

According to the Patriot News, attendees of a public hearing cited a report by the newspaper showing inaccurate crime reporting occurred routinely at 30 midstate schools.

Other cases of underreporting have also been uncovered recently, including one involving the Steelton-Highspire School District. According to a grand jury report, in addition to underreporting issues, the district didn’t conduct criminal background checks on employees. As a result, a known drug dealer was allowed to work as a hall monitor.

Currently, schools are required to report violent acts to the state. The numbers are compiled yearly and can be found online at

According to the newspaper, its analysis concluded violent crime increased 61 percent between the 2002-03 and 2003-04 school years, but school records showed a 35 percent decrease.

Another bill mandating more in-depth background checks of school employees is also being supported by the police chiefs.

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