"By Karen Langley / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG, PA — The state Department of Education is promoting a phone number that students, families and schools can call for help in addressing bullying.
Messages can be left around the clock at the bullying prevention help line at 1-866-716-0424 and will be returned Monday through Friday during business hours, according to the department.
People calling will usually hear back from Karla Joyce-Good, a licensed social worker at the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Somerset County. Ms. Joyce-Good said she is receiving about eight to 10 calls a week, though the rate of calls varies depending on the time of year. She said that when she gets a message, she calls back to learn about the situation and offers guidance about how to talk to the child and the school.
Depending on the situation, she may direct families to outside resources or call the school.
The help line is funded with state money and money from Highmark, said Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera. Highmark Foundation president Yvonne Cook said the foundation has donated $30,000 to the project between last year and this year.
The help line went live in April 2015, said Nicole Reigelman, spokeswoman for the Department of Education.
“We see this as an opportunity to address a quality of life issue for the students of the commonwealth,” Mr. Rivera said.
He said the help line will be advertised more widely in the future.
Karen Langley: email@example.com or 717-787-2141 or on Twitter @karen_langley"
Joy Spreading Since 2007