KRCG: Suicide-prevention bill breezes through House committee

by Garrett Bergquist
Posted: 04.27.2015 at 4:29 PM

JEFFERSON CITY — A bill requiring school districts to develop suicide-prevention training is one step closer to law after a unanimous committee vote Monday.

The bill would require every school district in Missouri to create a youth suicide awareness and prevention training program for its employees by July of 2017. It leaves specific policy decisions up to individual districts, but every policy would need to include ways to identify and help students at risk of suicide as well as procedures for dealing with a suicide death.

On Monday, a House committee unanimously sent the measure to a floor vote without any amendments. Bill sponsor Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis, said that action left her feeling very hopeful about the bill’s prospects.

Schupp said she introduced the bill after a 17-year-old girl in her district committed suicide last May. Schupp worked on the bill with the girl’s parents and introduced it at the start of the session in January.

“This bill, if it continues to move foward, will end up saving some young people’s lives,” she said.

Schupp said it was important to leave the particulars of suicide prevention programs up to the individual districts since they know their children better than state agencies. She said her bill would not require individual teachers to take the training.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously on April 16. If it passes the House and gets Gov. Jay Nixon’s signature, it would take effect on Aug. 28.

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