On June 26, 2014, Governor Corbett signed Act 71, formerly HB 1559, "Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention and Child Exploitation Awareness Education," amending the Public School Code of 1949. [Note that the Act also includes sections of HB 19, which addresses child exploitation awareness education for students and training for school personnel.]
Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, each school entity shall:
- Adopt an age-appropriate youth suicide awareness and prevention policy
- Include 4 hours of training in youth suicide awareness and prevention every 5 years for professional educators in grades 6 - 12
The bill also stipulates that school entities may:
- Incorporate a youth suicide awareness and prevention curriculum into its existing instructional programs.
and that the Department of Education shall:
- Develop a model youth suicide awareness and prevention policy, in consultation with a youth suicide prevention organization
- Develop a model youth suicide awareness and prevention curriculum and make it available to all school entities
- Compile, develop, and post on its publicly accessible internet website guidelines and materials for training educators and resources including age-appropriate educational materials.
Visit the following link for the actual law:
STAR-Center, in collaboration with the PAYSPI (PA Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative), is currently reviewing and developing materials to meet the requirements of Act 71. Visit www.payspi.org