Assemblywoman AURA K. DUNN
District 25 (Morris and Somerset)
Requires boards of education to adopt suicide prevention policies and DOE to establish model suicide prevention policy.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning student suicide prevention and supplementing chapter 6 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. As used in this act:
“Intervention” means specific actions implemented by a school in response to student suicidal behavior, including: student supervision; notification of parents or guardians; crisis-response protocols; processes for immediate mental health assessment or emergency services; and school re-entry procedures following a student mental health crisis.
“Postvention” means planned support and interventions a school implements after a suicide attempt or suicide of a student or any employee of a school district that are designed to: reduce the risk of suicide contagion; provide support for affected students and any employees of a school district; address the social stigma associated with suicide; and disseminate factual information about suicide.
“Prevention” means specific actions a school implements to recognize and reduce suicidal behavior, including: identifying risk and protective factors for suicide and suicide warning signs; establishing a process by which students are referred to a behavioral health provider for help; making available school-based and community-based mental health supports; providing the location of available online and community suicide prevention resources, including local crisis centers and hotlines; and adopting policies and protocols regarding school safety, and crisis response.
2. a. A board of education of a school district shall adopt a policy on student suicide prevention. When developing the policy, a board of education shall review the model policy established by the Commissioner of Education pursuant to subsection b. of this section and consult with school and community stakeholders, school-employed mental health professionals, and suicide prevention experts. A board of education shall have local control over the content of the policy, except that the policy shall, at a minimum:
(1) address procedures relating to suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention; and
(2) recognize the needs of high-risk groups.
b. To assist boards of education in developing policies for student suicide prevention, the commissioner shall develop a model policy, applicable to grades kindergarten through 12. The model policy shall be updated as the commissioner deems necessary.
c. A board of education shall:
(1) post the policy on the board’s Internet website; and
(2) notify students, parents, and guardians that the policy is available on the board’s Internet website.
3. This act shall take effect immediately and shall first apply in the first full school year following the date of enactment.
This bill requires each public board of education of a school district to adopt a policy on suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. The bill requires the Commissioner of Education to develop a model policy in order to help boards of education in establishing their own policies. Each board of education’s policy is required to be developed in consultation with school and community stakeholders, school-employed mental health professionals, and suicide prevention experts.
The policy is required to address procedures relating to suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention, and recognize the needs of high-risk groups. The bill defines “prevention” to mean specific actions a school implements to recognize and reduce suicidal behavior. “Intervention” is defined as specific actions a school implements in response to student suicidal behavior. The bill further defines “postvention” as planned support and interventions a school implements after a suicide attempt or suicide of a student or any employee of a school district.
Finally, the bill requires each board of education to post the policy on its Internet website and notify students, parents, and guardians that the policy has been posted to the board’s website.