Bill requiring parent notification of suicide threats, bullying passes in committee

Published: Monday, Feb. 25 2013 7:10 p.m. MST

Representative Richard Greenwood, R, Senator Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake City, Representative Gage Froerer, R-Ogden, and Representative Steve Eliason, R-Cottonwood Heights, Midvale, and Sandy, discuss their similar bills, Youth Suicide Prevention Revision, SB184, Parental Notification Related to Student Safety, HB134, and Suicide Prevention Programs, HB154 at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — A bill requiring schools to notify parents if their child threatens to commit suicide or is participant in incidents of bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment, hazing or retaliation, received a favorable recommendation Monday from the House Education Committee.

HB134, sponsored by Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, would require schools to have parents sign a statement acknowledging notification of the bullying or suicidal threat.

“This serves a critical need in our state today and across the country,” Froerer said. “If this legislation will result in fewer teen suicides, we've done our job today as state legislators.”

The bill would allow school boards to adopt their own policy regarding the process for notifying the parent.

Froerer said the notification form — written, email or phone — would be up to school districts to decide.  

“As long as they have a record of having informed the parents, it's up to the school districts as to how they will create the policy they determine is best,” he said. 

Froerer said playground supervision, too, must be increased to help get at the root of the problem.

“It’s one step, and it’s a critical step,” Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Salt Lake City, said.

Rachel Lowry

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