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Suicide prevention and awareness training bill passes House

INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI) – The Indiana House voted in favor of regulating suicide prevention and awareness training in schools. But the West Lafayette Schools superintendent has some questions about the bill.

The proposed legislation mandates teachers and staff of seventh through 12th-graders receive this training without government funding.

“That’s why we’re not doing it this year,” State Rep. Sheila Klinker said. “We’re giving school corporations time to discuss it, to get people trained.”

Employees will need to complete at least two hours of training every two school years across the state. Klinker said this will give students a chance to seek help outside their home.

“We want someone to whom they can go and feel that they have resolution to their problem, someone that can work with them consistently,” said Klinker.

Public, charter school and accredited nonpublic school employees are included in the mandate. Officials said there are multiple ways to receive the training.

“In person, of course, which I think would probably be the best,” said Klinker. “But also online programs that are certified and also self-review materials.”

Materials have to be cleared through the Indiana State Department of Education.

West Lafayette Community Schools Corporation Superintendent Rocky Killion wants to know what data is driving the regulation.

“And what is the Legislature’s hope in doing something like this, when 82 percent of a child’s life is outside the school,” said Killion.

He said the focus should be on providing prevention services in communities and for parents. School employees and parents need to be able to recognize students’ issues.

“After school and during the summer, during the breaks, things going on between the child and what they’re hearing, reading, seeing on social media,” Killion said.

Klinker said sometimes students don’t feel like they can tell their parents all their problems. It will be helpful to have teachers offer help and prevent a tragedy.

“If you have talked to some teachers, they said, “Oh gosh, I wish I would have known. Ya know, what that child was going through,’” she said.

The bill will now head to the Senate for consideration.

If it becomes law, the training would start after June 30, 2018.

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