Senate OKs school bill to end lunch shaming, seniority-based layoffs

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Pennsylvania Senate has given final legislative approval to a bill that changes the way teachers are laid off, prohibits “lunch shaming,” and makes several other changes to the Public School Code.

The Senate voted 35-15 on Wednesday to concur with House amendments to House Bill 178.

The teacher furlough bill, originally introduced by Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) as House Bill 1495, would require districts to end seniority-based layoffs and use teacher performance ratings during budget cuts.

The language to prohibit “lunch shaming” – where children are singled out in an attempt to collect a cafeteria debt from parents – would require districts to serve meals to any student who wants one. Schools could not humiliate children, require them to do chores, or order them to throw a served meal in the trash.

The bill would also delay the implementation of the Keystone Exam as a graduation requirement until the 2019-20 school year, require public schools to conduct annual security drills, include opioid abuse and prevention in the drug and alcohol curriculum, and increase the Educational Improvement Tax Credit by $10 million.

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