Senate Passes Stefano, Robinson Bill to Better Support Military Families

HARRISBURG – The Senate unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Sens. Pat Stefano (R-32) and Devlin Robinson (R-37) to establish the Purple Star School Program in Pennsylvania.

The program is a state-sponsored recognition to acknowledge a public, private, or charter school that has committed to supporting the unique educational and social-emotional needs of military-connected students. Specifically, a Purple Star School designation means better ease and consistency in transferring schools so children experience fewer educational gaps and obtain meaningful support when frequently moving to new towns and schools as a military child.

“This bill would help military students, who already face so much upheaval and resulting stress in their lives, by minimizing the challenges associated with changing schools so frequently,” Stefano said. “By helping military children, we’re also easing a serious concern of military parents, a concern that could impact their decision to reenlist.”

In 2018, the General Assembly passed and the governor signed into law Act 119, which requires schools to provide support services and information to a student when a parent or guardian is deployed for active duty.

Senate Bill 1028 would build upon Act 119 by providing “Purple Star” recognition to schools that show compliance, maintaining a website with resources for military-connected students and their families, designating a staff point of contact for these students, adopting a resolution showing them support, recognizing the Month of the Military Child of Military Family Month with relevant events hosted by the campus, providing training to school staff to best equip them to support these families, and establishing a partnership with a military installation.

“Military families and their children face a unique set of challenges during school-age years. The process of changing schools, often in the middle of the school year, can be especially difficult,” said Robinson. “We want to recognize the schools that invest in the programs that will help these students and families who have already sacrificed so much. I am eager to see this program come to fruition in Pennsylvania.”

Currently, 28 states have a Purple Star School Program.

As the bill received support from the Senate, it now moves to the House for consideration.

Senator Stefano’s Remarks:

 

Senator Robinson’s Remarks:

 

 

CONTACT:

Nate Silcox (Office of Sen. Stefano), nsilcox@pasen.gov or 717-787-7175

Elizabeth Weitzel (Office of Sen. Robinson), eweitzel@pasen.gov or 717-787-5839