GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2017

H 2

HOUSE BILL 285

Committee Substitute Favorable 3/22/17

 

Short Title: Suicide Prevention/Awareness School Personnel.

(Public)

Sponsors:

 

Referred to:

 

March 9, 2017

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT to provide for a training program on youth suicide awareness and prevention and a risk referral protocol for school personnel.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. Article 25A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

" 115C‑375.10. Youth suicide awareness and prevention training and risk referral protocol for school personnel.

(a) State Board Training Program and Protocol. The State Board of Education, in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, shall develop a youth suicide awareness and prevention training program and a model risk referral protocol for local school administrative units and charter schools to provide to school personnel who work directly with students in grades six through 12. The training program shall consist of at least two hours of evidence‑based instruction to increase awareness of suicide, identification of risk factors and signs, and information for student referral for suicide prevention resources and support. The model risk referral protocol shall provide guidelines to local school administrative units on identification of at‑risk students, suicide prevention procedures, and referral sources. The training program and model risk referral protocol shall be periodically reviewed and updated as necessary.

(b) Training and Protocol Requirements. Each local school administrative unit shall provide the training program and model risk referral protocol developed by the State Board of Education pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, or a locally developed plan that meets the requirements of subsection (c) of this section, to school personnel who work directly with students in grades six through 12 at no cost to the school employee. School personnel who work directly with students in grades six through 12 shall receive youth suicide awareness and prevention training within 12 months of employment with a local board of education and every five years thereafter while employed with that local board of education. The training may be offered in various formats, including electronically, either via videoconference or through an individual program of study that consists of at least two hours of instruction.

(c) Locally Developed Plan; Training and Risk Referral Protocols. A local board of education may comply with the training and risk referral protocol requirements of this section by developing a local plan in accordance with subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection.

(1) A locally developed youth suicide awareness and prevention training program shall include, at a minimum:

a. Information on State and national data on suicide deaths and attempts, suicide methods, and at‑risk population.

b. Myths and attitudes about suicide.

c. Warning signs and symptoms for suicide.

d. How to identify at‑risk students and steps for referring at‑risk students to support services.

e. Methods and factors to prevent suicide.

f. Safe messaging protocols for students.

(2) A locally developed risk referral protocol on identification of at‑risk students, suicide prevention procedures, and referral sources shall include, at a minimum:

a. A plan to provide specialized training for student support personnel, including administrators, school nurses, counselors, social workers, and psychologists.

b. A safety plan for the school in the event of (i) the identification of a student as being at‑risk of suicide, including a student help plan and immediate assistance, and (ii) a suicide death or suicide attempt by a student enrolled in the school, including a care plan for peers and school personnel.

c. The designation of a school employee as the school suicide prevention responder.

d. A protocol for communication with a parent or legal guardian of a student who is identified as at‑risk, including safe transfer of the student to the parent or legal guardian.

e. A plan for post‑intervention for a student who has been identified as at‑risk or has attempted suicide, including reentry into the classroom.

(d) Reporting. As part of the Healthy Active Children Policy survey report required by State Board of Education policy, SHLT‑000, each local school administrative unit shall report to the Department of Public Instruction on its compliance during the previous school year with the mandatory training and risk referral protocols required by this section on or before September 15 of each year. The Department of Public Instruction shall compile the reports received pursuant to this section and submit an overview of State compliance during the previous school year with the mandatory training and risk referral protocols to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on or before December 1 of each year.

(e) No local board of education, nor its members, employees, designees, agents, or volunteers, shall be liable in civil damages to any party for any act or omission of an act relating to the provision of, participation in, or implementation of the components of the training program or protocol required by this section unless that act or omission amounts to gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing.

(f) For purposes of this section, the term "school personnel" includes teachers, teacher assistants, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, janitorial staff, media coordinators, athletic coaches, administrators, administrative assistants, school safety resource officers, school nurses, social workers, psychologists, counselors, and any other school employee who has direct contact with students in grades kindergarten through 12."

SECTION 2. G.S. 115C‑218.75 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

"(g) Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention Training and Risk Referral Protocol. Each charter school shall provide a youth suicide awareness and prevention training program and risk referral protocol to school personnel who work directly with students in grades six through 12 once every five years in accordance with G.S. 115C‑375.10. Each charter school shall report to the Department of Public Instruction on its compliance during the previous school year with the mandatory training and risk referral protocols required by G.S. 115C‑375.10 on or before September 15 of each year. No charter school board of directors, nor its members, employees, designees, agents, or volunteers, shall be liable in civil damages to any party for any act or omission of an act relating to the provision of, participation in, or implementation of the components of the training program or protocol required by this section unless that act or omission amounts to gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing."

SECTION 3. This act is effective when it becomes law and applies beginning with the 2018‑2019 school year.