By Gail Riecken-City-County Observer Statehouse Editor
In a recent Statehouse file report, the writer expressed what must have been frustration on the part of legislators advocating HB 1004 and school safety funding. The article focused on that part of the bill about the inclusion of mental health education in the schools and possible harm one student might commit to another – like a school shooting.
This bill, sadly, was opposed by that familiar group of extremists who remonstrate against anything they think might infringe on their idea of “freedom”- here “freedom in education”. Two women testifying would not even agree to an opt-out provision (like sex education is in public schools).
These women don’t want any child receiving mental health education, not even mental health training on suicide prevention when the incidence in Indiana should put us all to shame. Consider the following: “As of 2016, Indiana ranks 10th in youth suicide rates and first in suicide ideation, that is, the number of young people who report thinking about suicide and developing a plan to do so, according to the state report. The ideation rate was last reported at 19 percent — nearly double the national average.” (KOKOMO TRIBUNE Jun 30, 2018).
Instead of lobbying against the bill, a parent should be asking legislators ‘What policies does Indiana require schools to have in place to address potentially suicidal students? What training is required of teachers? What plans are required of schools to support all students in the event of such a horrendous event in their school as a child taking his/her own life?’
As of this writing, HB 1004 remains held in the Senate Committee, Education and Career Development.