House committee postpones vote on suicide prevention bill
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee postponed a vote on a bill that would require teachers, principals and licensed educators to complete at least two hours of suicide prevention training every year.
The committee's Monday night hearing was cancelled due to an extended floor session. The hearing has not yet been rescheduled.
Rep. Bill Kidd, R-Independence, sponsored the Jason Flatt Adrian Cantor Act of 2018. He said its named after two Missouri teenagers who committed suicide.
"With all the other things we have going on in the state, teenage suicide is still a major epidemic," Kidd said.
He said the proposal will not cost the state any money because it is in-service training that could be done online. He said the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will administer the specific programs. The bill said DESE could choose to create its own program in place of current online training.
"There's such a wealth of information about teenage suicide out there that they can go and get that and use it for free," Kidd said.
Suicide rates are a major cause of death in the United States. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S with a rate of 13.42 out of every 100,000 people in 2016. In Missouri, the suicide rate was 18.27 per 100,000 people, which ranked 13th highest in the U.S.
Kidd said he hopes the training impacts more than only kids contemplating suicide.
"Lets find out who these troubled kids are, what the signs are, and lets get them help," Kidd said.
If the bill becomes law, the two hours of training would not be required until the 2019-2020 school year.
"If we save one, it's worth it," Kidd said.