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Summary: Under current law, "[t]he department [Texas Department of State Health Services], in coordination with the Texas Education Agency, shall provide and annually update a list of recommended best practice-based early mental health intervention and suicide prevention programs for implementation in public elementary, junior high, middle, and high schools within the general education setting. Each school district may select from the list a program or programs appropriate for implementation in the district" (Health and Safety Code Section 161.325). This bill would require school districts to provide training to school personnel in an effort to assist their students and manage their classrooms.
Analysis: This legislation would address expanding requirements for school districts to train their personnel. SB 1178 would also create an additional burden and expand the role of the teacher to serve aa mental assessor. This could potentially make a mental health trained teacher liable if a student commits suicide and it is later found that the teacher missed the signs that he/she had been trained to recognize. Teachers are not mental health professionals and should not be treated as such. We oppose this legislation and would support an amendment that makes clear a teacher with mental health training could not be held liable for missing signs of mental health problems in a student.