S07138 Summary:

Add Art 2-A 20 - 24, Ed L
Enacts the student suicide prevention act, requiring local educational agencies to produce policies, procedures, and guidelines which direct teachers and other school employees on how to respond to students who have demonstrated suicidal thoughts or intentions.
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S07138 Actions:

02/10/2020PRINT NUMBER 7138A
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S07138 Committee Votes:

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S07138 Floor Votes:

There are no votes for this bill in this legislative session.
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S07138 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                    IN SENATE
                                     January 8, 2020
        Introduced  by  Sen. HOYLMAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
          printed to be committed to the Committee  on  Education  --  committee
          discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted
          to said committee
        AN  ACT  to amend the education law, in relation to enacting the student
          suicide prevention act

          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1.  Short  title. This act shall be known and may be cited as
     2  the "student suicide prevention act".
     3    § 2. The education law is amended by adding a new article 2-A to  read
     4  as follows:
     5                                  ARTICLE 2-A
     6                         STUDENT SUICIDE PREVENTION
     7  Section 20. Legislative intent.
     8          21. Definitions.
     9          22. Policies, procedures, and guidelines.
    10          23. Application.
    11          24. Severability and construction.
    12    §  20.  Legislative  intent.  The  legislature  finds and declares the
    13  following: 1.  According to data from the federal  Centers  for  Disease
    14  Control  and  Prevention  as  reported in the year two thousand sixteen,
    15  suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth and young  adults
    16  ten  to  twenty-four  years of age, inclusive, in both the United States
    17  and in New York state.
    18    2. As children and teens spend a significant  amount  of  their  young
    19  lives  in  school, the personnel who interact with them on a daily basis
    20  are essential gatekeepers for recognizing warning signs of  suicide  and
    21  making the appropriate referrals for help.
    22    3.  In  a national survey conducted by the Jason Foundation, a teacher
    23  was identified as the number one person to whom a student would turn  to
    24  help  a friend who might be suicidal. It is imperative that when a young
    25  person comes to a teacher for help,  such  teacher  has  the  knowledge,
    26  tools, and resources to respond correctly.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        S. 7138--A                          2
     1    4.  In the year two thousand eighteen, the federal Centers for Disease
     2  Control and Prevention found in its  Youth  Risk  Behavior  Survey  that
     3  lesbian,  gay,  and  bisexual youth are almost four times more likely to
     4  seriously consider attempting suicide, have made a suicide plan, or have
     5  attempted suicide, than their heterosexual peers.
     6    5.  There  are  national  hotlines available to help adults and youth,
     7  including lesbian, gay,  bisexual,  transgender,  queer  or  questioning
     8  (LGBTQ) youth, who are experiencing suicidal ideation or who are worried
     9  about a family member or peer who may be at risk, including the National
    10  Suicide  Prevention  Lifeline,  the Crisis Text Line, the Trevor Project
    11  Lifeline, and TrevorChat.
    12    6. According to the Family  Acceptance  Project,  research  has  found
    13  that,  for  an  LGBTQ  youth,  having  at least one supportive adult can
    14  reduce the youth's risk of suicide.
    15    7. New York state schools face the serious issues of students at  high
    16  risk  of  suicide and death by suicide in the school communities. School
    17  personnel must be supported by  clear  policies  and  procedures,  which
    18  serve as an easily-accessible roadmap, eliminate confusion over educator
    19  roles  and  the  referral process, and equip educators with the tools to
    20  respond safely when a suicide does occur in the school community.
    21    § 21. Definitions. For the purposes of  this  article,  the  following
    22  terms  shall  have the following meanings: 1. "Crisis situation" means a
    23  situation where a teacher or other  local  educational  agency  employee
    24  believes  a  student  or  other  individual  is  in imminent danger of a
    25  suicide attempt.
    26    2. "LGBTQ" means individuals who identify, with regards to gender,  as
    27  being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning.
    28    3.  "Local educational agency" means a school district, board of coop-
    29  erative educational services, school, or the education department.
    30    4. "Suicide intervention" means specific actions schools can  take  in
    31  response  to  suicidal behavior by a student, including, but not limited
    32  to:
    33    a. student supervision;
    34    b. notification of parents or guardians;
    35    c. crisis situation response protocols;
    36    d. when and how to request an immediate mental  health  assessment  or
    37  emergency services; and
    38    e.  school  re-entry  procedures  following  a  student  mental health
    39  crisis.
    40    5. "Suicide  postvention"  means  planned  support  and  interventions
    41  schools  can  implement  after  a  suicide attempt or suicide death of a
    42  member of the school community that are designed to:
    43    a. reduce the risk of the spread of suicidal thoughts or intentions;
    44    b. provide support for affected students and school-based personnel;
    45    c. address the social stigma associated with suicide; and
    46    d. disseminate factual information about suicide and its prevention.
    47    6. "Suicide prevention" means specific actions  schools  can  take  to
    48  recognize and reduce suicidal behavior, including, but not limited to:
    49    a.  identifying  risks  and protective factors for suicide and suicide
    50  warning signs;
    51    b. establishing a process by which students are referred to  a  mental
    52  and behavioral health provider for help;
    53    c.  making  available  school-based  and community-based mental health
    54  supports;
    55    d. providing the location of available online  and  community  suicide
    56  prevention resources, including local crisis centers and hotlines;

        S. 7138--A                          3
     1    e.  adopting  policies  and  protocols  regarding  suicide prevention,
     2  intervention, and postvention, school safety,  and  response  to  crisis
     3  situations;
     4    f.  training  for school personnel who interact directly with students
     5  in recognizing suicide risks and warning signs and how to refer students
     6  for further assessment and evaluation; and
     7    g. instruction to students in problem-solving  and  coping  skills  to
     8  promote  students'  mental, emotional, and social health and well-being,
     9  and instruction in recognizing and appropriately responding to signs  of
    10  suicidal intent in others.
    11    §  22. Policies, procedures, and guidelines. 1. The governing board or
    12  body of every local educational agency that serves  students  in  grades
    13  seven  to  twelve, inclusive, shall, before the first day of August, two
    14  thousand twenty, adopt policies, procedures, and guidelines  on  student
    15  suicide  prevention,  intervention, and postvention for students in such
    16  grades. Such policies, procedures, and guidelines shall be developed  in
    17  consultation  with  school  and  community stakeholders, school-employed
    18  mental health professionals, and suicide prevention experts,  and  shall
    19  include, but not be limited to:
    20    a.  methods  to increase awareness of the relationship between suicide
    21  and suicide risk factors including, but not limited to:
    22    i. mental health and substance use conditions;
    23    ii. childhood abuse, neglect, or trauma;
    24    iii. prolonged stress,  such  as  bullying,  harassment,  relationship
    25  stress, or other stressful life events;
    26    iv. exposure to another person's suicide, or sensationalized or graph-
    27  ic accounts of suicide; and
    28    v.  previous suicide attempts or history of suicide within a student's
    29  family;
    30    b. identification of training  opportunities  on  recognizing  suicide
    31  risks, and referral procedures available to school employees;
    32    c.  availability  of  expertise  from  school  employees who have been
    33  trained in recognizing suicide risks, and referral procedures;
    34    d. how school employees should  respond  to  suspicion,  concerns,  or
    35  warning signs of suicide in students;
    36    e.  how  school employees should respond to a crisis situation where a
    37  student is in imminent danger to himself or herself;
    38    f. policies and protocols for communication  with  parents,  including
    39  those  that  specify  what  to do if parental notification is not in the
    40  best interest of the student;
    41    g. counseling services available within the school  for  students  and
    42  their families that are related to suicide prevention;
    43    h.  availability  of  information  concerning  crisis situation inter-
    44  vention, suicide prevention, and mental health services in the community
    45  for students and their families and school employees;
    46    i. identification  and  development  of  partnerships  with  community
    47  organizations  and  agencies  for referral of students to health, mental
    48  health, substance use, and social support services,  including  develop-
    49  ment  of  at  least  one  memorandum  of understanding between the local
    50  education agency and such an organization or agency in the community  or
    51  region;
    52    j.  development of a plan to assist survivors of attempted suicide and
    53  to assist students and school employees  in  coping  with  an  attempted
    54  suicide or a suicide death within the school community; and
    55    k.  development  of any other related program or activity for students
    56  or school employees.

        S. 7138--A                          4
     1    2. The policies, procedures, and guidelines adopted pursuant to subdi-
     2  vision one of this section shall specifically address the needs of high-
     3  risk groups, including, but not limited to, the following:
     4    a. youth who have lost a friend or family member to suicide;
     5    b.  youth with disabilities or with chronic health conditions, includ-
     6  ing mental health and substance use conditions;
     7    c. youth experiencing homelessness or in out-of-home settings, such as
     8  foster care; and
     9    d. LGBTQ youth.
    10    3. The policies, procedures, and guidelines adopted pursuant to subdi-
    11  vision one of this section shall be written  to  ensure  that  a  school
    12  employee acts only within the authorization and scope of such employee's
    13  credential  or  license.   Nothing in this section shall be construed as
    14  authorizing or encouraging a school employee to diagnose or treat mental
    15  health conditions unless such  employee  is  specifically  licensed  and
    16  employed to do so.
    17    4.  Notwithstanding  any  other  provision  of law to the contrary, no
    18  cause of action may be brought for any loss or damage caused by any  act
    19  or  omission resulting from the implementation of the provisions of this
    20  article, or resulting from any training, or lack of  training,  required
    21  by  this  article.  Nothing in this article shall be construed to impose
    22  any specific duty of care.
    23    5. To assist local educational agencies  in  developing  policies  for
    24  student  suicide  prevention,  the department shall develop and maintain
    25  model policies, procedures,  and  guidelines  in  accordance  with  this
    26  section  to serve as a guide for local educational agencies.  Such model
    27  policies, procedures, and guidelines shall be posted within thirty  days
    28  of  their  completion  on  the department's internet website, along with
    29  relevant resources and information to support schools in developing  and
    30  implementing  the  policies,  procedures,  and guidelines required under
    31  subdivision one of this section.
    32    6. The governing board or body of  a  local  educational  agency  that
    33  serves  students  in grades seven to twelve, inclusive, shall review, at
    34  minimum every fifth year following the effective date of  this  article,
    35  its  policies,  procedures, and guidelines on student suicide prevention
    36  and, if necessary, update such policies, procedures, and guidelines.
    37    § 23. Application. The provisions of this article shall apply  to  all
    38  private and public educational institutions in New York state.
    39    §  24.  Severability  and construction. The provisions of this article
    40  shall be severable, and if any court of competent jurisdiction  declares
    41  any phrase, clause, sentence or provision of this article to be invalid,
    42  or its applicability to any government agency, person or circumstance is
    43  declared  invalid, the remainder of this article and its relevant appli-
    44  cability shall not be affected. The provisions of this article shall  be
    45  liberally construed to give effect to the purposes thereof.
    46    § 3. This act shall take effect immediately.
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