Sep. 02, 2020

HARRISBURG – Protecting the right of Pennsylvania families and school districts to choose what is best for students, the House today approved two pieces of legislation by Reps. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford/Franklin/Fulton) and Mike Reese (R-Somerset/Westmoreland). House Bills 2787 and 2788 ensure that local districts, parents and students are the ultimate decision makers when it comes to a child’s education and participation in extracurricular activities.

Guidance on education and extracurriculars from the Wolf administration have been ever-changing and muddied, leaving parents, students, teachers and district administrators confused and seeking clearer answers. The most recent example was the governor’s conflicting direction on extracurricular activities when he called for fall sports to be canceled until 2021.

Topper’s legislation, House Bill 2788, provides students and families with the option to continue the student’s educational and extracurricular activities for an additional school year to make up for the loss of instruction during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.

“Students must be afforded all chances to fulfill educational and extracurricular activity opportunities. Activities, such as sports and the arts, are critical in the growth and development of students as they grow into adults,” Topper said. “Decisions on how and when students participate in extracurriculars should be left to the families.”

Reese’s House Bill 2787 allows Pennsylvania’s local school districts to make decisions regarding fall sports and activities, including whether spectators will be permitted at sporting events.

“With fall sports and activities underway for school districts that have chosen to participate, the concern I’m now hearing about most is from parents who want to watch their children participate,” Reese said. “Just as individual school districts have been empowered to make important decisions about how to teach their students and whether or not to participate in sports and other activities, school officials should also get to decide if parents or other spectators are permitted and, if so, make it part of their health and safety plan for the school year. My bill gives them the authority to do so.”

House Bills 2787 and 2788 now go to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Jesse Topper, 78th District
Representative Mike Reese, 59th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives