We are pleased that A-4075, a bill we proudly sponsored, has been signed into law. This bill requires public schools to develop threat assessment teams and help stop school violence before it happens.
Although the pandemic has finally receded and students have returned to a full in-person classroom setting, they are returning to a world very different from which they left. Amidst increased pressures from social media, cyberbullying, an opioid drug epidemic and the stress and isolation caused by the pandemic, our children's mental health is in a full-scale public health crisis.
The proof is in the numbers. One in five teenagers lives with several mental health issues, including loneliness, stress, anxiety, depression, behavioral challenges, and substance use, and suicide is now the second leading cause of death for this age group. Additionally, emergency room visits for suspected suicide attempts have risen 50 percent.
That’s why we are proud to have supported this bipartisan effort. The bill calls for threat assessment teams that would consist of a school psychologist or counselor, a teacher, a school resource officer, a principal or administrator and the school’s safety specialist.
The members of the team will be trained in understanding and identifying childhood trauma. The bill also requires the state Department of Education to work with law enforcement agencies and the state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness to create guidelines and policies for how the team should identify students who are a danger to the community or to themselves.
This is not a partisan issue, and no good idea can afford to be ignored. We will continue doing all we can to protect our children and keep our classrooms safe.
Yours in service,
Kim and Marilyn