Senate OKs Seveney bill requiring suicide prevention training for public school personnel

 

STATE HOUSE — The State Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Sen.  James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton) that would require all public school districts to adopt suicide prevention policies and train all personnel in suicide awareness and prevention annually.

The Nathan Bruno and Jason Flatt Act (2021-S 0031) would require all school personnel — including teachers, administration, custodians, lunch personnel, substitutes, nurses, coaches, and coaching staff, even if volunteers — to be trained in suicide prevention and awareness. The state Department of Education would establish the guidelines for the training curriculum.

The bill is named for Nathan Bruno, a 15-year-old Portsmouth High School student who sadly took his life in 2018.  Part of the bill is modeled after a state law passed in Tennessee and 19 other states, which was named after Jason Flatt, a 16-year-old from Nashville who took his own life.

“Suicide awareness and prevention is critical for students of all ages,” said Senator Seveney. “We must take action to ensure all adults with whom they interact at school are able to recognize the signs of students who are at risk. Nathan Bruno’s tragic death showed us how important it is for everyone who works with students to recognize the signs and to know how to properly handle those situations. It can save kids’ lives.”

Nate’s high school friends formed a nonprofit called “Be Great for Nate” and an associated program called the Every Student Initiative. Their hard work was the impetus of this legislation, which they participated in crafting to help prevent other young people from suffering the way Nathan did.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016, suicide was the second leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10 and 34. In 2017, one in nine middle school students in Rhode Island made a suicide plan.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2021-H 5353) has been introduced by Rep. Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown).

 

 

For an electronic version of this and all press releases published by the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau, please visit our Web site at www.rilegislature.gov/pressrelease.

 

 Follow us on social media! 
A new report claims the Trump administration secretly acquired "Washington Post" journalists' phone records last year. The newspaper says the Justice Department also tried getting email records in connection with reporting during the early part of the Trump White House. The agency sent three letters notifying them of toll records associated with phone numbers between April and July of 2017.        Governor Asa Hutchinson is ending supplemental unemployment assistance for Arkansas residents. He said today he has directed the Division of Workforce Services to stop its participation in the federal assistance plan after June 26th. Hutchinson says while the extra 300 dollars a month helped thousands of residents make it though a tough time, now they're needed back in the workforce as the state continues opening up.       White House COVID coordinator Jeff Zients [[ ZYE-entz ]] says the government is boosting efforts to convince hesitant Americans to get vaccinated, while also improving access to vaccinations. Meantime, White House COVID Advisor Andy Slavitt says one-hundred-ten million Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.       An election bill is headed back to the Texas Senate after being passed by the Texas House. Representatives signed off on the measure this afternoon following hours of debate. Republicans argue the bill brings about more transparency in elections, particularly involving poll watchers.       A political consultant for the Texas Agriculture Commissioner is under arrest for allegedly selling access to the licenses needed to grow hemp in the state. Production was legalized back in 2019, but only 15 licenses would be issued. Todd Smith, who has run the commissioner's political campaigns, was allegedly telling farmers that getting a hemp license would take a total of 150-thousand dollars in contributions.       A professional golfer is facing a dozen charges, accused of sending inappropriate messages to someone he thought was a teenage girl. Daniel Bowling was arrested yesterday. Orlando Police say Bowling was using the messaging platform AdChat to talk with an undercover cop pretending to be a minor and police say it only took a day for the messages to become sexually charged.