Yesterday, Matthew S. Stem, Deputy Secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education sent out a reminder to LEAs regarding Act 71 of 2014, which requires school entities provide four hours of training in youth suicide awareness and prevention every five years for professional educators in school buildings servicing students in grades 6-12. Under this law, school entities must incorporate “protocols administering youth suicide prevention education to staff and students” into their suicide awareness and prevention policy. However, schools are not precluded from providing training and education to all school personnel, including support staff (e.g., secretarial staff, custodians, food service, etc.). The communique also list the following Resources for Student Suicide Education and Awareness:
Student Suicide Prevention Program Spreadsheet (note: Click on different tabs to review programs organized by cost, duration, etc.)
Prevent Suicide PA recently launched their Suicide Prevention Online Learning Center, with a range of free online trainings for educators, including an 8-module course that fulfills the 4-hour Act 71 requirement and covers the PDE recommended topics for educator training.
For additional information about suicide prevention efforts in Pennsylvania, visit Prevent Suicide PA’s website.
Those with questions relating to Pennsylvania’s school suicide prevention and awareness mandates, are asked to contact Carol Kuntz, Director for the Office for Safe Schools at (717)783-6469.