On June 1, 2016, The California Assembly approved a bill that would require the adoption of comprehensive suicide prevention plans by local California school districts with students attending grades 7-12. Assembly Bill (AB) 2246 was authored by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell and sponsored by Equality California and The Trevor Project.
“AB 2246 will protect every student in California, especially our vulnerable LGBTQ youth who attempt suicide at significantly higher rates,” said Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. “With parents and schools partnering together, we can prevent the tragic loss of many young lives.”
Current California Education Code encourages schools to adopt suicide prevention policies, but does not require them. Under AB 2246, new policies must address, at a minimum, guidelines for suicide prevention, intervention, and follow-up. To assist local educational agencies in developing policies for student suicide prevention, the Department of Education would be required to develop and maintain a model policy to serve as a guide for school districts, possibly based on one already developed by The Trevor Project.
“The vote in the Assembly is a key step in passing legislation that is an integral part of The Trevor Project’s fight to end suicide for all LGBTQ youth, which will serve as a model for the rest of the country,” said Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project. “Young people often don’t know where to turn when they are dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts. With AB 2246, students will be able to walk into a classroom knowing that they can talk to a teacher or school employee and that person can direct them to lifesaving resources like The Trevor Project.”
Over 17 percent of youth turning to The Trevor Project’s lifesaving resources are from California. According to the CDC, 17 percent of students in grades 9-12 report having seriously considered suicide, and eight percent report having attempted suicide one or more times in the past 12 months.
“LGB teens attempt suicide at rates up to three times higher than their straight peers and more than a quarter of trans youth have reported making a suicide attempt,” said Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California. “California’s teachers are dedicated to creating safe, supportive learning environments. This bill will help give them the tools and training they need to protect LGBT and all at-risk children.”
AB 2246 now moves to the California Senate for approval.
Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the only national accredited organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24. Every day, The Trevor Project saves young lives through its free and confidential accredited phone, instant message, and text messaging crisis intervention services. A leader and innovator in suicide prevention, The Trevor Project offers the largest safe social networking community for LGBTQ youth, best practice suicide prevention educational trainings, resources for youth and adults, and advocacy initiatives. For more info, visit TheTrevorProject.org.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. The mission of EQCA is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. EQCA is also dedicated to advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, EQCA strives to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve the organization’s goals. For more info, visit www.eqca.org.
Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell represents the 70th Assembly District, which includes Long Beach, Signal Hill, San Pedro and Catalina Island.
Jason Howe, Communications Director, Equality California: PHONE: 323-848-9801 MOBILE: 415-595-9245 EMAIL: [email protected]
Shawn Steiner, Communications Director, The Trevor Project: PHONE: 917-497-3037 EMAIL: [email protected]