Youth suicide prevention bill awaits gov's signature
HARRISBURG - A bill giving educators a greater role in preventing youth suicides has won final legislative approval.
A key provision in Rep. Frank Farina's bill would require educators working with students in grades six through 12 to complete four hours of training in youth suicide awareness every five years as part of their professional development.
This training requirement would take effect in the 2015-16 school year. School districts are to adopt policies and education programs to raise awareness about the problem of youth suicide. And the state education department is charged with developing model youth suicide awareness and prevention policies and curriculum that can be used by both public and private schools.
The bill includes a requirement for schools to take similar steps to prevent child exploitation in kindergarten through eighth grade. With House approval by a 197-0 vote, the measure now goes to Gov. Tom Corbett for signing.
Lawmakers have acted in a bipartisan fashion to help save lives with passage of this bill, said Farina, D-115, Jessup (Lackawanna County) in floor remarks.
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-28, Pittsburgh; called Farina a "driving force" in raising the issue of youth suicide risks.