Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) today introduced legislation that mandates all school districts adopt a suicide prevention plan, his office announced today.
Supporters of the bill include Equality California and The Trevor Project.
“Our kids spend so much of their day in school that teachers serve as the first line of defense when a child is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts,” said O’Donnell in a statement. “AB 2246 protects students going through difficult economic, physical or social challenges by ensuring teachers are trained to identify warning signs.”
In fact, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that suicide is the third leading cause of death for children 10 to 14, and second among people 15 to 34.
“LGBTQ youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, yet California is among just a handful of states that do not require that all schools have suicide prevention policies to protect our kids,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California in a statement. “This new law will help get teachers the resources they need to recognize and support at-risk kids.”
The next step for the bill is referral to its first police committee.