Proposed Kansas law would cut back suicide prevention training i - KCTV5 News

Proposed Kansas law would cut back suicide prevention training in schools

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A bill moving through the Senate committee process could possibly change a law requiring schools to train all their employees on suicide prevention. (WIBW) A bill moving through the Senate committee process could possibly change a law requiring schools to train all their employees on suicide prevention. (WIBW)
TOPEKA, KS (KCTV) -

A bill moving through the Senate committee process could possibly change a law requiring schools to train all their employees on suicide prevention.

Those who support the bill say they are in support of the training, but they want to reduce the number of people required to take it.

The issue is one that affects the Kansas City area community. Just last month, two Shawnee Mission Northwest High School students took their own lives in the same week.

Right now, every worker in Kansas schools is required to be trained to spot people with suicidal tendencies.

State lawmakers approved the Jason Flatt Act in 2016 which requires a minimum of one hour of training per person every school year. Now, a bill moving through the senate committee process could change that. 

“We just feel that there’s a price tag for people that are being trained that probably don’t have the connection with kids," said G.A. Buie, Executive Director of the Kansas Superintendents Association.

The proposed bill would change it so only “selected” staff would be required to do training. It would also remove the one-hour minimum.

Supporters say it’s not necessary to train people who have little contact with students. But, mental health experts disagree. They say the more people the better the chances of stopping someone from taking their life.

“I believe that you have to have interaction to be able to ask the most difficult question, and that is: are you thinking of killing yourself or are you thinking of committing suicide?” said Tim Deweese, Director of Johnson County Mental Health Center.

The Centers for Disease Control says suicide is the third leading cause of death for children 10 to 14.

The issue crosses both sides of the state line.

Lee’s Summit will be given grant money at an event next week to go towards suicide prevention in local schools. 

Three Lee’s Summit teens have died by suicide this school year.

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