SENATE, No. 528

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

220th LEGISLATURE

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2022 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator† M. TERESA RUIZ

District 29 (Essex)

Senator† NELLIE POU

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senator Codey

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Requires certain additional school district personnel to complete training program on suicide prevention.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

††


An Act concerning annual suicide prevention instruction for public school teaching staff members and amending P.L.2005, c.310.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

††††

†††† †1.†† Section 2 of P.L.2005, c.310 (C.18A:6-112) is amended to read as follows:

†††† †2.†† a.† The State Board of Education, in consultation with the New Jersey Youth Suicide Prevention Advisory Council established in the Department of Children and Families pursuant to P.L.2003, c.214 (C.30:9A-22 et seq.), shall, as part of the professional development requirement established by the State board for public school teaching staff members, require each public school teaching staff member to complete at least two hours of instruction in suicide prevention, to be provided by a licensed health care professional with training and experience in mental health issues, in each professional development period.† The instruction in suicide prevention shall include information on the relationship between the risk of suicide and incidents of harassment, intimidation, and bullying and information on reducing the risk of suicide in students who are members of communities identified as having members at high risk of suicide.

†††† †b.†† Not including teaching staff members subject to the requirements of subsection a. of this section, a school employee or an employee of a contracted service provider who has regular and direct contact with students, as determined by the board of education, shall complete a one-time training program in suicide prevention, awareness, and response developed or identified by the Department of Education pursuant to subsection c. of this section.† A person subject to the requirements of this subsection shall complete the required training program not less than 12 months from the date of the development or identification by the department of training programs and the development of the fact sheet or 12 months from the personís date of hire, whichever occurs later.

†††† †c.††† The Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Human Services, the New Jersey Youth Suicide Prevention Advisory Council, suicide prevention experts, and interested stakeholders in the education community, shall:

†††† (1)†† develop or identify training programs on suicide prevention, awareness, and response that persons subject to the requirements of subsection b. of this section may access and complete, free of charge, to fulfill the requirements.† The department may enter into an agreement with one or more private entities to make a training program available, free of charge, to persons subject to the requirements of subsection b. of this section; and

†††† (2)†† develop an educational fact sheet on suicide prevention, awareness, and response.† The educational fact sheet shall include, but not be limited to, model guidance, best practices, and educational resources that will assist school districts in developing their own suicide prevention, awareness, and response protocols.† Among the best practices that districts are encouraged to consider in staff training and in the development of school district protocols is the use of table-top exercises where appropriate staff rehearse scenarios in the event of a suicide impacting the school district.

†††† The educational fact sheet shall be made available on the departmentís website and shall be distributed, at no charge, to all school districts. The department shall update the educational fact sheet on an annual basis in accordance with trends in the field of youth suicide prevention.

†††† †d.†† Beginning in the first full school year following the date of the development or identification by the department of the training programs and the development of the educational fact sheet, and annually thereafter, each school district and contracted service provider shall provide to their employees who are subject to the requirements of subsection a. or b. of this section, in a hard copy paper form or in an electronic form:

†††† (1)†† the educational fact sheet developed pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection c. of this section; and

†††† (2)†† guidelines on the school districtís reporting and suicide prevention, awareness, and response protocols including, but not limited to, contact information for each schoolís designated staff who should be notified whenever an employee believes a student may be at risk for suicide.

†††† e.†††† A school district shall provide information concerning its compliance with the requirements of this section in the New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum Statement of Assurance submitted by the district to the executive county superintendent of schools.† A contracted service provider shall annually provide a statement of assurance to the school district concerning its compliance with the provisions of subsections b. and d. of this section.

†††† f.†††† (1)† No person shall have a cause of action for any loss or damage caused by any act or omission resulting from the implementation of the provisions of this section or resulting from any training, or lack thereof, required by this section.

†††† (2)†† The training, or lack thereof, required by the provisions of this section shall not be construed to impose any specific duty of care.

(cf: P.L.2010, c.122, s.4)

 

†††† 2.††† This act shall take effect immediately, but shall remain inoperative until the Department of Education has developed or identified and made available to school districts the training programs and developed the educational fact sheet required pursuant to subsection c. of section 2 of P.L.2005, c.310 (C.18A:6-112).

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† Under current law, public school teaching staff members receive instruction in suicide prevention as part of their professional development requirements.† This bill provides that a school district employee who is not subject to the current professional development requirement and an employee of a contracted service provider, who have regular and direct contact with students as determined by the board of education, will be required to complete a one-time training program in suicide prevention, awareness, and response developed or identified by the Department of Education.

†††† The bill also directs the Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Human Services, the New Jersey Youth Suicide Prevention Advisory Council, suicide prevention experts, and interested stakeholders in the education community to: 1) develop or identify training programs on suicide prevention, awareness, and response that persons subject to the billís training requirements may access and complete free of charge; and 2)† develop an educational fact sheet on suicide prevention, awareness, and response.† The educational fact sheet will be made available on the departmentís website and distributed at no charge to all school districts.

†††† Under the billís provisions, each school district and contracted service provider is to annually provide to its employees the educational fact sheet and guidelines on the school districtís reporting and suicide prevention, awareness, and response protocols, including contact information for each schoolís designated staff who should be notified whenever an employee believes a student may be at risk for suicide.

†††† The bill specifies that a person will not have a cause of action for any loss or damage caused by any act or omission resulting from the implementation of the billís provisions.