Suicide is the third leading cause of death among Florida’s youth, and a newly signed law aims to promote youth suicide prevention training in schools.
The training will be developed by the Florida Department of Education and the Statewide Office of Suicide Prevention. Rep. Dane Eagle (R-Cape Coral)—who has lost friends to suicide—says the goal of his measure is to help educators recognize the signs among their students.
“And, the saddest thing about this is—not only are we losing these kids—the saddest thing is that it’s preventable and that we’re not doing enough,” he said. “So, this bill helps to curb that by bringing something simple forward...all we’re asking is that instructional personnel in elementary, middle, and high schools will have to receive two hours of training in youth suicide awareness and prevention training, beginning in the 2016-2017 school year.”
Rep. Shevrin Jones (D-West Park) says as a former 12th grade teacher, he sees the importance.
“You always wandered about those students would come in the classroom and whether their silence was…you couldn’t tell what their silence meant,” he said. “And, I never understood for one of my students in my second year in teaching what his silence meant until we got a note that he had committed suicide.”
The new law—signed last week by Governor Rick Scott—takes effect July 1st.
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