Working to transform the child welfare system.


HB 1336: Relating to increasing the capacity of school districts to recognize and respond to troubled youth

Sponsored by Representative Orwall, HB 1336 requires that school nurses, school social workers, and school counselors complete a training program that is at least three hours long on youth suicide screening and referral in order to be certified and to have certificates continued in those professions. Standards for the training program will be developed by the Professional Educator Standards Board and content will include information and skill standards pertaining to the recognition, initial screening, and response to emotional or behavioral distress in students, including indicators of possible substance abuse, violence, and youth suicide. Each school district must adopt a plan for this same purpose. This plan must address identification of training opportunities for staff in recognition, screening, and referral; how to use the expertise of trained staff; how staff should respond to suspicions, concerns, or warning signs of emotional or behavioral distress in students; development of partnerships with community organizations for referral of students to health, mental health, substance abuse, and social support services; protocols for communication with parents; how staff should respond to a situation in which a student is an imminent danger to themselves or others; and how the district will provide support to students and staff after a violent incident or youth suicide. A model plan based on research-based best practices will be developed by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the School Safety Advisory Committee and will be posted online.  Each educational service district will have the capacity to offer training for educators and staff, whether facilitated by staff with sufficient expertise or by outside contractors.

Substitute bill:  As amended, school psychologists are added to the list of educators who must complete a training program in youth suicide screening and referral.  The task force must explore the potential use of advanced online emotional health and crisis and response systems developed for use in other countries.  The OSPI must use remote technologies and other electronic communication as much as possible in convening the task force.  Nothing in the bill is intended to increase liability for school districts related to suicide or attempted suicide.

Ways and Means amendment:  Replaces the provisions of the House bill with the language adopted by the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education and Ways & Means Committees in the Senate companion bill, SSB 5365.  Includes the provisions of Substitute Senate Bill 5333 (providing mental health first-aid training to teachers and educational staff) as adopted by the Senate Committee on Human Services & Corrections. Makes typographical adjustments. Adds a section regarding liability.