Safety & Violence Education (SAVE) Students Act updated for Ohio schools focus on school security, suicide & depression education.
On March 24, 2021, the Ohio Legislature updated House Bill 123. It was amended due to a need to address schoolwide safety, violence, social isolation and mental health issues. With the passing of this bill, public schools will be required to increase student mental health as well as safety in the school building with the implementation of new trainings for students and teachers, threat assessment teams, and anonymous reporting programs and student lead violence prevention club for sixth-twelfth graders.
This bill expresses the need for the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) website to have a list of instructions for suicide awareness and prevention as well as violence prevention with at least one being free of charge to schools. Topics covered in this are:
- For teachers, administrators as well as students to identify signs and symptoms of depression, suicide and self harm in students, themselves and friends.
- Determining local mental health services and in what timeline and manner to refer.
- Teaching kids the seriousness of reaching out for help for themselves or friends when it comes to mental health, depression, or suicide.
- Educate how to pick warning signs out of those who may be a threat to themselves or other people.
- Explaining the value in taking threats sincerely and finding help.
- A plan for how students can report findings with an anonymous option.
Another portion of the Safety & Violence Education Students Act bill dictates that ODE site include a list of quality trainings including topics related to:
- Defining social isolation and observing it in others.
- The gravity of creating social connections with peers.
- In what means and how to find help for classmates who may be socially isolated.
- How to incorporate methods for more social inclusion around the school.
Coming down the line Spring 2022:
- Every school district will register with SaferOH tip line or similar anonymous reporting program for families and teachers to use.
- Each local, city, exempted village, joint vocational, community, STEM, or college-prep boarding school is allowed to form a student-led violence prevention club. The club is for each sixth through twelfth graders. It will be open to all students and have at least one adult advisor in order to create opportunities for student leadership and incorporate suicide and violence prevention, social inclusion education and awareness activities.
Coming down the line Spring 2023:
- Every school district is to create a emergency management plan and threat assessment in each middle and high school building which will be maintained and updated. A safety team will also need to be created and receive training.
Coming down the line 2024:
SAVE Student Act bill states that students in grades six through twelve will be required to take at least one hour or class per academic year (student assemblies, online learning and homework would qualify for instruction) regarding:
- Suicide awareness and prevention
- Safety training and violence prevention
- Evidence based social inclusion instruction
This bill’s primary sponsors were district 55’s Gayle Manning and district 63’s Glenn Holmes.