By Governor Tom Wolf
Recently, there have been several incidents involving racism and religious intolerance at Pennsylvania schools. As your Governor, I want you to know that this is unacceptable to me and my administration will do everything it can to end it and prevent it from happening in the future.
My administration has developed a response plan that includes outreach from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Safe Schools office and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). When an incident occurs, the Wolf Administration has directed school districts and officials to contact the Office of Safe Schools, who can send counselors to the schools and work with the PHRC to determine if additional resources are needed. Pennsylvania State Police will continue to monitor threats and take action as appropriate in support of victims and other law enforcement agencies.
The Office for Safe Schools’ Bullying Prevention Consultation Line is a toll free number that will allow individuals experiencing chronic and unresolved bullying to discuss effective strategies and available resources to deal with school-based bullying. This supportive resource has been developed in collaboration with the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (CHPDP), and is available, at no cost, to students, parents/guardians and school districts across the state of Pennsylvania. Messages can be left 24 hour a day, seven days a week, and will be returned Monday-Friday during normal business hours. The Consultation Line number is 1-866-716-0424.
If you see an instance of injustice or discrimination anywhere in your community, speak out! If you see this kind of behavior, call the Hate Crimes Hotline at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights by dialing 1-800-552-6843.
Regardless of your race, gender, sexual orientation or identity, or religion, you have the right to be treated fairly. You have the right to feel safe in your community. You have the right to love whomever you want. You have the right to worship any way you want.
William Penn founded Pennsylvania on principles of tolerance and freedom. All of us lucky enough to have the privilege to live in this Commonwealth and this great country have the responsibility to make sure everyone can enjoy these freedoms.
To those who are worried or unsure, I want you to know that Pennsylvania has your back.
Together, we can ensure that all Pennsylvanians are free, safe, supported, and happy.