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Act 71

On June 26, 2014, Act 71 was signed into law in Pennsylvania. This law, which added section 1526 of the School Code, 24 PS § 15-1526, specifically requires school entities to: (1) adopt a youth suicide awareness and prevention policy; and (2) provide ongoing professional development in youth suicide awareness and prevention for professional educators in building serving students in grades 6-12. Additionally, section 1526 specifically permits school entities to incorporate curriculum on this topic into their instructional programs pursuant to their youth suicide awareness and prevention polices.

Act 71 of 2014 also added section 1527 of the School Code, 24 PS § 15-1527. Section 1527 permits school entities to provide age-appropriate instruction regarding child exploitation for students in grades K-8. If a school entity provides this instruction to its students, the school entity must provide professional development related to child exploitation awareness to those educators assigned to teach courses into which child exploitation awareness education has been incorporated. 

NOTE: This webpage contains resources, including links to websites, created by a variety of outside organizations. The resources are provided for the user's convenience, and inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by the Pennsylvania Department of Education of any views, products or services offered or expressed in them.

SECTION 1526: Suicide Awareness/ Prevention Education: Guidelines & Educational Materials
SECTION 1527: Child Exploitation Awareness Education: Guidelines & Suggested Resources  

 

SECTION 1526: Suicide Awareness/ Prevention Education: Guidelines & Educational Materials

Note: Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, each school entity shall:

(1) Adopt an age-appropriate youth suicide awareness and prevention policy and (2) Include in its professional development plan submitted to the secretary for approval pursuant to section 1205.1 four (4) hours of training in youth suicide awareness and prevention every five (5) years for professional educators in school buildings serving students in grades six through twelve.

Student Programs/Resources:     

More Than Sad Program
The More Than Sad Program of the American Foundation for Suicide prevention provides education about factors that put youth at risk for suicide, in particular depression and other mental disorders. The program includes two sets of materials one for teens and one for teachers and school personnel. Instructional materials to accompany More Than Sad Program, include a power point presentation.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
PA AFSP chapters will make the "More Than Sad" DVD available free to all high and middle schools in PA that request one. Contact Pat Gainey to receive your copy. Patricia Gainey, Regional Director, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Greater Philadelphia Regional Office3535 Market Street, Suite 4047Philadelphia, PA 19104; Office: (215)-746-7256.

Plan, Prepare, Prevent: The SOS Signs of Suicide®
SOS Signs of Suicide is a secondary school-based suicide prevention program that includes screening and education. Students are screened for depression and suicide risk and referred for professional help as indicated. Students also view a video that teaches them to recognize signs of depression and suicide in themselves and others. They are taught that the appropriate response to these signs is to use the ACT technique: acknowledge that there is a problem, let the person know you care, and tell a trusted adult. Students also participate in guided classroom discussions about suicide and depression.

Professional Development

Plan, Prepare, Prevent: The SOS Signs of Suicide® Online Gatekeeper Training
SOS Signs of Suicide is a secondary school-based suicide prevention program that includes screening and education. A complete professional development component accompanies the student program.

Kognito At-Risk for High School Educators
A 1-hour, online, interactive gatekeeper training program that prepares high school teachers and other school personnel to identify, approach, and refer students who are exhibiting signs of psychological distress such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation. Through a self-paced, narrative-driven experience, participants build knowledge, skills, and confidence to connect at-risk students to counseling, mental health, or crisis support services.

Youth Mental Health First Aid
Designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. The course is designed to improve participants' knowledge and modify their attitudes and perceptions about mental health and related issues, including how to respond to individuals who are experiencing one or more acute mental health crises (i.e., suicidal thoughts and/or behavior, acute stress reaction, panic attacks, and/or acute psychotic behavior) or are in the early stages of one or more chronic mental health problems (i.e., depressive, anxiety, and/or psychotic disorders, which may occur with substance abuse).

Making Educators Partners in Youth Suicide Prevention
Online interactive training program for educators and school staff. Designed in a series of 5 modules, it addresses the critical but limited responsibilities of educators in the process of identification and referral of potentially suicidal youth. It focuses on the practical realities and challenges inherent in the school setting through a variety of training formats that include lecture, question and answer, and role plays. This training is available free of charge.

ASK about Suicide to Save a Life
This program provides participants with an overview of the basic epidemiology of suicide and suicidal behavior, including risk and protective factors. Participants are trained to recognize warning signs—behaviors and characteristics that might indicate elevated risk for suicidal behavior—and how to intervene with a person they think might be at risk for suicide. Implementation Essentials: Participants should be aware of the suicide prevention protocols for their particular setting along with local referral points for those who may be at risk for suicide.

More Than Sad: Suicide Prevention Education for Teachers and Other School Personnel
Developed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, this training is designed to help educators better understand suicidal behavior in adolescents, including its causes, treatment, and prevention. This program is available to Pennsylvania school entities free of charge. Contact Pat Gainey to receive your copy. Patricia Gainey, Regional Director, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Greater Philadelphia Regional Office3535 Market Street, Suite 4047Philadelphia, PA 19104; Office: (215)-746-7256.

PREPaRE School Crisis Prevention and Intervention Training Curriculum (2nd Edition)
Consists of two complementary workshops. Workshop 1 is designed to help schools create systems to meet the safety and crisis prevention and preparedness needs of students, staff, and families. Workshop 2 focuses on mental health crisis intervention and recovery. The curriculum builds on existing personnel, resources, and programs; links to ongoing school safety efforts; facilitates sustainability; addresses a range of crises (including suicide); and can be adapted to each school's size and needs.

QPR Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention: QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention 
Suicide Prevention is a 1-2 hour educational program designed to teach "gatekeepers"--those who are strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide (e.g., parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches, caseworkers, police officers)--the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond by following three steps; Question, Persuade, and Refer.

Be A Link
(email demme@yellowribbon.org for training cost and more information) Be A Link! is an adult gatekeeper training program that provides participants with knowledge to help them identify youth at risk for suicide and refer them to appropriate help resources. Be A Link! requires a certified Yellow Ribbon trainer.

Wisconsin Gatekeeper Online training
Accompanying PowerPoint        

General Resources

PA Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative
Mission -The Pennsylvania Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative is a multi-system collaboration to reduce youth suicide. Vision -Youth suicide prevention will be embraced and incorporated into the fabric of every community in Pennsylvania to address the social and emotional needs of youth at risk and survivors of suicide.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line:  http://www.crisistextline.org/ or Text 741-741

Pennsylvania Suicide Prevention Resource Center
Provides resources to educators and other stakeholders on youth and adult suicide prevention.        

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
A  membership organization for all those involved in suicide prevention and intervention, or touched by suicide. AAS is a leader in the advancement of scientific and programmatic efforts in suicide prevention through research, education and training, the development of standards and resources, and survivor support services.        

Services for Teens At Risk (STAR Center)
A comprehensive research, treatment, and training center. Funded by the State of Pennsylvania's General Assembly in 1986 to address adolescent suicide and depression, the program provides individual assessment and treatment to teens that are experiencing depression and suicidality. They also provide community education services about depression and suicidality to schools, social service agencies, churches and other organizations that request them.        

The Trevor Project
Leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.        

School Resources

Youth Suicide Prevention School Based Guide
Designed to provide accurate, user-friendly information. The Guide is not a program but a tool that provides a framework for schools to assess their existing or proposed suicide prevention efforts (through a series of checklists) and provides resources and information that school administrators can use to enhance or add to their existing program. First, checklists can be completed to help evaluate the adequacy of the schools' suicide prevention programs. Second, information is offered in a series of issue briefs corresponding to a specific checklist. Each brief offers a rationale for the importance of the specific topic together with a brief overview of the key points. The briefs also offer specific strategies that have proven to work in reducing the incidence of suicide, with references that schools may then explore in greater detail. A resource section with helpful links is also included. The Guide provides information to schools to assist them in the development of a framework to work in partnership with community resources and families.         

Toolkit for High Schools
Assists high schools and school districts in designing and implementing strategies to prevent suicide and promote behavioral health. Includes tools to implement a multi-faceted suicide prevention program that responds to the needs and cultures of students. Released in June 2012.      

Parent Resources

This video from the Society for Prevention of Teen Suicide is a good reference for parents. It is free of charge. http://www.sptsusa.org/not-my-kid/

SECTION 1527: Child Exploitation Awareness Education: Guidelines & Suggested Resources

Note: Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, each school entity may:

(1) Develop an age-appropriate child exploitation awareness education program and incorporate such program into the school entity's existing curriculum for students in kindergarten through grade eight; and (2) Include training in child exploitation awareness in its professional development plan submitted by to the secretary for approval pursuant to section 1205.1; provided that a school entity shall provide four (4) hours of such training every five (5) years for professional educators assigned to teach courses into which child exploitation awareness education has been incorporated.  

Model Curriculums

Safer Smarter Kids
An abuse prevention curriculum for Pre –K and Elementary children. The education program uses developmentally appropriate materials to arm children with the tools and language to better protect themselves from abuse. Middle and high school curriculums are set to be released in the fall of 2015.         

Care for Kids
A health-based curriculum for children from 3-8 years old. This well-researched curriculum helps stakeholders understand the link between healthy sexuality education and child sexual abuse prevention.         

Resources

Erin's Law
This law was first introduced in Illinois by Erin Merryn, a victim of sexual abuse. Listed are the Key components of the law (PDF) annotated bibliography, research brief, literature review and an online special collection

Professional Development/Teacher Training Guidelines and Education Materials

Guidelines for prevention programs (adults) (PDF)
Items to consider when reviewing or selecting effective programming        

Guidelines for prevention programs (children) (PDF)
Items to consider when reviewing or selecting effective programming        

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Information Packet
This information packet was developed for sexual violence prevention educators, advocates, and their allied partners in public health and other disciplines. The packet contains resources to support the prevention of child sexual abuse and draws from: research on child sexual abuse prevention programming, child sexual abuse risk and protective factors, and the public health model of prevention. The packet includes an overview [1],technical assistance bulletin [2], technical assistance guide on programs for adults [3], technical assistance guide on programs for children [4], resource list [5], annotated bibliography [6], research brief [7], literature review [8] and an online special collection [9].        

Think First & Stay Safe® | Teen Lures® TV Newscast:
Healthy Relationships | Personal Safety | Digital Citizenship | Drug-Free Youth | Human Trafficking

Primary Prevention Curricula for Grades PreK-6 | Grades 7-12. Both programs are evidence-based, multi-session and include Presenter Training Modules, age-appropriate/sequential Scripted Lesson Plans/Class Discussions, interactive class activities, practice scenarios and role-playing, worksheets/handouts, follow-up activities, School Posters and Parent Components (including Orientation Letter, PowerPoint presentations, handouts and 20 pp Think First Parent Guide/Let's Talk Teens parent handbook, with helplines.)

KidzSmartz
A child safety program that educates families about preventing abduction and empowers kids in grades K-5 to practice safer behaviors. This program offers resources to help parents, caregivers, and teachers protect kids by teaching and practicing the 4 Rules of Personal Safety        

Be Safe At Last: Safe@Last ® 
A sexual assault primary prevention curriculum designed for students in Kindergarten- sixth grades with age-appropriate, sequential and comprehensive education, presented in an interactive web-based learning environment for both children and educators.

For more information: Joseph F. Loccisano, Ed.D., 717.346.4253, jloccisano@pa.gov

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