More Suicide Prevention Training Proposed for New Jersey Teachers

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New Jersey lawmakers have proposed that public school teachers undergo more suicide prevention education, mandating all teachers and staff members receive two hours of suicide prevention training from a licensed health-care professional each year.

Currently, NJ school staff only receive two hours of training every 5 years, a requirement established in 2005. The proposal to change the requirement was approved by the Assembly late last year, and a similar bill was introduced into the Senate this month.

“Effective suicide prevention among teens requires a full-court press from the community,” said Troy Singleton, a Democratic assemblyman and the legislation’s co-sponsor.

According to statistics from the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, the youth suicide rate in New Jersey is approximately five per 100,000 people. The national average in 2012 was eight per 100,000, with young people being defined as those aged 10 to 24 years.

Assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt, a Democrat, said the state government wants to introduce the change due to the rise in bullying via technology.

Some teacher groups have expressed their concern over the new requirement. Teachers are already required to undergo 20 hours of professional development per year, and they are concerned that the new training will take away time that can be used for instruction.

The new legislation would require two hours of suicide prevention training for school teachers.
The new legislation would require two hours of suicide prevention training for school teachers.

TRENTON — Public schoolteachers would undergo more suicide prevention education under a proposal from a bipartisan group of New Jersey lawmakers.

An Assembly committee approved the measure late last year while State Senator Diane B. Allen, a Republican, introduced a similar bill in the Senate this month.

The bill requires public schoolteachers and staff members to receive two hours of suicide prevention training from a licensed health care professional every year, up from two hours over five years, as the rule stands now.

Assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt, a Democrat, said she and her colleagues are pursuing the change because of the rise of bullying through technology.

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