House unanimously passes Smith amendment to Parents Bill of Rights Act in response to tragic death of Central Regional High School student Adriana Kuch
Smith measure would require schools to notify parents of any video recordings of violent incidents
During consideration of the Parents Bill of Rights Act (HR 5), the House of Representatives today unanimously passed an amendment offered by Rep. Chris Smith (R-Manchester) that would require school officials to notify parents of any video recordings of violent incidents that occur at school.
Smith’s amendment—which is now headed to the Senate as part of HR 5—comes in response to the death of Adriana Olivia Kuch, a student at Central Regional High School in Berkeley Township, who tragically took her own life just days after a group of fellow students violently attacked her in the school hallway and then shared the video of the horrific assault online.
“Adriana’s family told the Asbury Park Press that she ‘took her own life after being threatened online, attacked on school grounds, and later harassed when video of the attack was spread via social media,’” said Smith.
“My amendment recognizes that bullying and violence are often compounded—and the victim further traumatized, further humiliated, and further mocked—when the crime is videotaped and shared on social media,” said Smith.
Specifically, Smith’s amendment would add to the Parents Bill of Rights’ disclosure requirement of violent incidences a provision that schools notify parents of whether recordings exist of such violence.
“Once informed, parents are empowered to better shield, comfort and protect their child,” said Smith.
In the wake of Adriana’s loss, Berkeley Mayor Carmen Amato, Jr. and the Township Council introduced a resolution imploring elected officials to enact legislation to help prevent the revictimization of students who are attacked at school.
“We must continue to do everything we can to better protect our kids,” said Mayor Amato, who has taken a lead in promoting reform measures to enhance school safety. “Congressman Smith’s important amendment will give parents added information about violence and bullying in schools and allow parents to make the best decisions to protect their children.”
Smith noted that his amendment is a step in the right direction of what must be a full-court press to tackle online bullying at the federal, state, and local levels.
“There must be absolutely zero tolerance for bullying, harassment, and violence in our schools and in our community,” said Smith.
“What happened at Central Regional High School must never happen again,” Smith said. “There must be no higher priority for us than school safety and protecting every student from violence.”
The Parents Bill of Rights Act—which empowers parents by requiring K-12 public schools to notify them of their rights on the education of their children—passed the House with Smith’s strong support and vote and now moves to the Senate for further consideration.