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Politics & Government

State Touts Hotline To Prevent Bullying

Phil Whitehouse

The state is trying to get the word out about a bullying prevention hotline that’s been up and running since before the beginning of the school year.

The 24-7 service takes messages from people concerned about bullying in Pennsylvania schools. Social worker Karla Joyce-Good handles responses as part of her job at a non-profit partnering with the state. She said there’s good reason to care about bullying.

“There are long-term consequences on students who are repeatedly bullied... they have higher rates of anxiety and depression into adulthood,” she said. “We also know that students who bully who are left with no intervention are more likely to end up in jail. They are four times as likely as their peers who do not bully to have felony convictions in their 20s.”

The statewide hotline is funded jointly by the commonwealth, providing $25,000, and the Highmark Foundation, which is providing $30,000.

The state Department of Education says the service has been active since the beginning of the current academic year, as well as for a three-month pilot period during the prior school year.

The toll-free number is 866-716-0424.