SALT LAKE CITY — A bill making it clear that teachers and school faculty can intervene if they a believe a student is at risk of committing suicide gained preliminary approval Thursday from the Utah Senate.
HB23, sponsored by Rep. Steven Eliason, R-Sandy, amends current law regarding youth suicide prevention to provide clarity for educators.
Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, the bill's Senate sponsor, said the current law is ambiguous and has led to some educators feeling uncomfortable approaching students exhibiting warning signs of self-harm.
Suicide is a leading cause of death for Utah's teenagers, he said, and the bill empowers school faculty to play a role in preventing harmful actions.
"We want to ensure that our teachers, faculty and staff know that they can have a part in helping prevent suicides in this way," Stephenson said.
The bill was approved by a 23-1 vote and will be read for a third time in the Senate prior to final passage.
— Benjamin Wood
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company