Hohenstein: We must provide better protections against assault for recreation leaders

HARRISBURG, Dec. 17 – State Rep. Joseph C. Hohenstein, D-Phila., today announced that an amendment he introduced to provide protections against assault for recreation leaders, lifeguards and librarians was passed by the full House.

Hohenstein’s measure was added to H.B. 1879, introduced by Rep. Keith Gillespie, R-York, a bill that would expand existing assault statutes to include additional protections for healthcare employees.

The push for the inclusion of recreation employees in the bill, Hohenstein said, was motivated by a string of assaults targeting Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation personnel, including the July assault of a lifeguard and her father at Vogt Recreation Center, located in Hohenstein’s legislative district, and his own experience previously serving as a lifeguard.

"Immediately after the assault on those lifeguards at the pool at Vogt Recreation Center, I met with them and I told them would have their backs,” said Hohenstein, who represents the 177th Legislative District. “Today, I was able to fulfill that promise, at least in part, by expanding the aggravated assault law to include them and the recreation leaders who are serving our neighborhoods every day. They put themselves on the line and they deserve to know that we value them and their work. They keep our children safe, and we need to keep them safe."

House Bill 1879, including Hohenstein’s amendment, now moves to the Senate for concurrence.