Jason Flatt Act

The Jason Flatt Act started as an idea that was presented by a young legislator in New Jersey in 2001. He asked, “Have you ever thought about working with teacher’s In-Service Training requirements to have educators trained?” That began our working with organizations in New Jersey and then Colorado to influence legislation for including youth suicide awareness and prevention training within Teacher’s In-Service and eventually resulting in basis for The Jason Flatt Act.

In 2007, The Jason Flatt Act was first passed in Tennessee and became the nation’s most inclusive and mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention legislation pertaining to Teacher’s In-Service Training. It required all educators in the state to complete 2 hours of youth suicide awareness and prevention training each year in order to be able to be licensed to teach in Tennessee. This was soon followed by Louisiana and California in 2008 (California is mandated to be offered – not individual teacher requirement which is the only difference to all other states). Mississippi passed The Jason Flatt Act in 2009 follow by Illinois in 2010 and Arkansas in 2011. The year 2012 would prove to be a record-breaking year for The Jason Flatt Act passing in five states; West Virginia, Utah, Alaska, South Carolina and Ohio.  North Dakota passed the legislation in 2013. Wyoming passed legislation in 2014. Georgia, Montana, and Texas passed legislation in 2015. South Dakota, Alabama, and Kansas passed the legislation in 2016. In all, 19 states have now passed The Jason Flatt Act (over 36% of all states).

In all 19 states, The Jason Flatt Act has been supported by the state’s Department of Education and the state’s Teacher’s Association which points to the value seen in such preventative training. When introduced under The Jason Flatt Act, a state can pass this important life-saving / life-changing legislation without a fiscal note.

For more information on The Jason Flatt Act or to inquire about how your state may introduce this legislation please contact us.

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Alabama

The Jason Flatt Act SB11 Effective May 10, 2016

Governor Robert Bentley signed The Jason Flatt Act on May 10, 2016 – Alabama (SB11) into law, making Alabama the 18th state to pass The Jason Flatt Act since 2007. The Bill was sponsored by Senator Gerald Allen of Alabama Senate District 11. Major components of the legislation are:
  1. Amend Section 16-26B-8, Code of Alabama 1975.
  2. The Department of Education shall adopt rules to require that all certificated public school personnel receive annual training in suicide awareness and prevention.
  3. The Department of Education will develop a list of approved training materials to fulfill the requirements of the act which may include training materials currently being used by a local school system if such training materials satisfy the criteria established by the department.
  4. This training may be provided within the framework of existing in service training programs or as a part of required professional development offered by the local school system. Approved materials may include programs that can be completed through self-review of suitable suicide prevention materials.
  5. Each local school system shall adopt a policy on student suicide prevention. The polices shall be developed in consultation with school and community stakeholders, school employed mental health professionals, and suicide prevention experts, and, at a minimum, shall address procedures relating to suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.
  6. This act shall become effective on the first day of the third month following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.

Alaska

The Jason Flatt Act of Alaska SB 137 Chapter 34 SLA 2012

Senate Bill 137, also known as The Jason Flatt Act, was passed during the 2012 legislative session.  Governor Sean Parnell signed the bill into law on May 23, 2012.  Alaska is the ninth state to pass the Jason Flatt Act.  This legislation requires mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention training for certain school personnel. Major components of the legislation are:
  1. Mandatory training for each teacher, administrator, counselor and specialist who provides services to public school students in grades 7-12.
  2. In-service training must include two hours of youth suicide awareness and prevention education each school year.
  3. Training is required in order to maintain or renew their teaching license.
  4. This education may be accomplished through self-review of suitable suicide prevention material.

Arkansas

The Jason Flatt Act of Arkansas HB 1778 Act 77 of the Regular Session Effective with the 2012-2013 School Year

On March 30, 2011, Governor Mike Beebe signed HB 1778, also known as The Jason Flatt Act, into law. Arkansas is the sixth state to pass this Act. This legislation requires mandatory teen suicide awareness and prevention training for certain individuals. Major components of the legislation are:
  1. Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, mandatory suicide awareness and prevention training is required for all licensed personnel.
  2. Two hours of in-service training in teen suicide awareness and prevention is required once every five years.
  3. The in-service training shall count toward the satisfaction of requirements for professional development in the Standards for Accreditation of Arkansas Public Schools and School Districts and for licensure requirements for licensed personnel.
  4. This education may be accomplished through self-review of suitable suicide prevention material approved by the Department of Education.

California

The Jason Flatt Act of 2008 – California SB 1378 Chapter 143

On July 3, 2008, SB 1378 passed the California General Assembly and was sent to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for signature. On July 18, 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 1378, also known as The Jason Flatt Act of 2008, into law. California became the third state to pass The Jason Flatt Act. Major components of the legislation are:
  1. This bill authorizes a school district that receives a professional development block grant to offer to each of its teachers two hours of staff development in the prevention of suicide.
  2. A district receiving such funds may expend a portion of those funds for two hours of youth suicide prevention training.
  3. The training provided under this section may not exceed two hours.
  4. The training may occur during a regularly scheduled in-service training day.

Georgia

The Jason Flatt Act of Georgia HB 198 Effective May 5 2015

During the 2015 Legislative Session HB 198, also known as The Jason Flatt Act, was passed with an effective date of May 5th 2015. Georgia is the 15 state to pass The Jason Flatt Act. This legislation requires mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention training for certain school personnel. Major components of the legislation are:
  1. The Department of Education shall adopt rules to require that all certificated public school personnel receive annual training in suicide awareness and prevention.
  2. Approved materials may include programs that can be completed through self-review of suitable suicide prevention materials.
  3. Each local school system shall adopt a policy on student suicide prevention.

Illinois

The Jason Flatt Act of Illinois HB 4672 Public Act 096-0951 Effective June 26, 2010

On June 26, 2010, Governor Pat Quinn signed HB 4672, also known as The Jason Flatt Act, into law. Illinois became the fifth state to pass this important legislation. This legislation requires mandatory suicide awareness and prevention training for certain school personnel. Major components of the legislation are:
  1. Teachers, school guidance counselors, school social workers and other school personnel who work with students in grades 7-12 shall be trained to identify the warning signs of suicidal behaviors in adolescents and teens.
  2. This training shall include various intervention techniques.
  3. The training shall be provided within the existing framework of in-service training programs offered by the Board.
  4. The training can also be offered as part of the required professional development activities.

Kansas

The Jason Flatt Act SB323 Effective May 13, 2016

On May 13, 2016 Governor Sam Brownback signed The Jason Flatt Act – Kansas in memory of Cady Housh (SB323) into law, making Kansas the 19th state to pass The Jason Flatt Act since 2007. The Bill was sponsored by Senator Greg Smith of Kansas Senate District 21. Major components of the legislation are: Requiring suicide prevention training for school district personnel; amending K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 75-2319 The board of education of each school district shall provide suicide awareness and prevention programming to all school staff and shall notify the parents or legal guardians of students enrolled in such school district that the training materials provided under such programming are available to such parents or legal guardians. Such programming shall include, at a minimum:
  1. At least one hour of training each calendar year based on programs approved by the state board of education. Such training may be satisfied through independent self-review of suicide prevention training materials; and
  2. A building crisis plan developed for each school building. Such plan shall include:
    • Steps for recognizing suicide ideation;
    • Appropriate methods of intervention; and
    • A crisis recovery plan
On or before January 1, 2017, the state board of education shall adopt rules and regulation necessary to implement the provisions of the section.

Louisiana

The Jason Flatt Act of Louisiana HB 719 Act 219 Effective June 16, 2008

HB 719, also known as The Jason Flatt Act, was introduced by Representative Thomas G. Carmody, Jr. at the beginning of the 2008 legislative session. Governor Bobby Jindal signed HB 719 into law on June 16, 2008. Upon his signature, Louisiana became the second state to pass the Jason Flatt Act. This legislation requires mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention training for school personnel. Major components of the legislation are:
  1. Requires in-service training in suicide prevention for all public school teachers, school counselors and principals, and as determined by the board, other school administrators for whom training is deemed beneficial.
  2. Two hours of in-service training in suicide prevention is required annually beginning with the 2008-2009 school year.
  3. The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will develop, adopt guidelines and identify suitable suicide prevention materials for the training..
  4. Self-review of suitable materials is permitted.

Mississippi

The Jason Flatt Act of Mississippi SB 270 Effective July 1, 2009

During the 2009 legislative session, SB 2770, also known as The Jason Flatt Act, was passed with an effective date of July 1, 2009. Governor Haley Barbour signed the bill into law on April 13, 2009. Upon Governor Barbour’s signature, Mississippi became the fourth state to pass the Jason Flatt Act. This legislation requires mandatory youth suicide prevention training for all teachers and principals. Major components of the legislation are:
  1. Suicide prevention education is required for all licensed teachers and principals beginning with the 2009-2010 school year.
  2. Annual in-service training must include at least two hours of suicide prevention training.
  3. This education may be accomplished through self-review of suitable suicide prevention material.

Montana

The Jason Flatt Act of Montana HB 374 Effective Date July 1, 2015

During the 2015 Legislative Session HB 374, also known at The Jason Flatt Act, was passed with an effective date of July 1, 2015. Montana is the 14th state to pass The Jason Flatt Act. This legislation recommends youth suicide awareness and prevention training for certain school personnel. This legislation requires mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention training for teachers and principals.

An act requiring the office of public instruction to develop suicide awareness and prevention training materials for school district employees; recommending at least 2 hours of training every 5 years.

  1. The office of public instruction shall provide guidance and technical assistance to Montana schools on youth suicide awareness and prevention training materials. All training materials offered must be approved by the public instruction, meet the standards for professional development in the state, and be periodically reviewed by a qualified person or committee for consistency with generally accepted principles of youth suicide awareness and prevention training.
  2. The legislature recommends that youth suicide awareness and prevention training be made available annually to each employee of a school district and to staff of the office of public instruction who work directly with any students enrolled in Montana public schools. The training must be provided at no cost to the employee. The training may be offered through any method of training identified in subsection (3).
  3. The legislature recommends that employees under subsection (2) take a least 2 hours of youth suicide awareness and prevention training every 5 years. Appropriate methods for delivery of the training include:
    • in-person attendance at a live training;
    • videoconference;
    • an individual program of study of designated materials;
    • self-review modules available online; and
    • any other method chosen by local school board that is consistent with professional development standards.

North Dakota

The Jason Flatt Act of North Dakota SB 2306 Effective August 1, 2013

During the 2013 legislative session, SB 2306, also known as The Jason Flatt Act, was passed with an effective date of August 1, 2013. North Dakota is the 12th state to pass the Jason Flatt Act. This legislation adds a new section to chapter 15.1-19 of the North Dakota Century Code which requires mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention training for teachers and administrators. Major components of the legislation are:
  1. Youth suicide awareness and prevention training is mandatory for teachers and administrators in middle school and high school.
  2. At least two hours of professional development relating to youth suicide risk indicators, appropriate staff responses and referral sources must be provided once every two years.
  3. The superintendent of public instruction in collaboration with the North Dakota department of health will obtain and disseminate information and training materials, free of charge.
  4. These materials include those programs available through The Jason Foundation.

Ohio

The Jason Flatt Act of Ohio HB 543 Effective March 22, 2013

During the 2012 legislative session, HB 543, also known as The Jason Flatt Act in honor of Joseph Anielski, was passed. Governor John Kasich signed the bill into law on December 20, 2012. This legislation requires mandatory youth suicide prevention training for certain school personnel employed by a school district or service center. Major components of the legislation are:
  1. Suicide prevention education is required for each person employed by a school district or service center to work as a nurse, teacher, counselor, school psychologist, or administrator and any other personnel the board determines appropriate.
  2. This training will be incorporated into the in-service training required by existing law for persons employed by schools.
  3. This in-service training shall count toward the requirements for professional development required by the school district or service center board.
  4. This education may be accomplished through self-review of suitable suicide prevention material.

South Carolina

The Jason Flatt Act of South Carolina HB 4690

HB 4690, also known as The Jason Flatt Act, was passed during the 2012 South Carolina legislative session. Governor Nikki Haley signed The Jason Flatt Act into law on May 14, 2012. As a result, South Carolina became the tenth state to pass this important legislation. This legislation requires mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention training for teachers and principals. Major components of the legislation are:
  1. Mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention training for all middle and high school teachers.
  2. Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, in-service training must include two hours of youth suicide awareness and prevention education.
  3. Training is required in order to maintain or renew their teaching license.
  4. Training counts toward the 120 hours of credit already needed for renewal every five years.
  5. The SC Department of Education will develop guidelines for suitable training materials.
  6. This education may be accomplished through self-review of suitable suicide prevention material approved by the school districts.

Tennessee

The Jason Flatt Act of Tennessee HB 0101 / SB 0057 Public Chapter 45 Effective July 1, 2007

During the 2007 legislative session, HB0101 / SB0057, also known as The Jason Flatt Act, was passed with an effective date of July 1, 2007. Tennessee was the first state to pass the Jason Flatt Act. At the time it was the most comprehensive legislation requiring youth suicide awareness and prevention in the country. This legislation requires mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention training for teachers and principals. Major components of the legislation are:
  1. Youth suicide awareness and prevention training is mandatory for teachers and principals.
  2. In-service training must include two hours of youth suicide awareness and prevention education each school year.
  3. Training is required in order to maintain or renew their teaching license.
  4. This education may be accomplished through self-review of suitable suicide prevention material.

Texas

The Jason Flatt Act HB 2186 Effective June 19, 2015

During the 2015 legislative session, HB2186, also known as The Jason Flatt Act in memory of Jonathan Childers, was passed with an effective date of June 19, 2015. Texas was the sixteenth state to pass The Jason Flatt Act. This law states suicide prevention training must be provided on an annual basis, as part of new employee orientation, to all new school district and open-enrollment charter school educators and to existing school district and open-enrollment charter school educators on a schedule adopted by the agency by rule. Major components of the legislation are:
  1. The suicide prevention training must use a best practice-based program recommended by the Department of State Health Services in coordination with the agency under Section 161.324, Health and Safety Code.
  2. The suicide prevention training may be satisfied through independent review of suicide prevention training material that: complies with the guidelines developed by the agency; and is offered online.
  3. The Act applies beginning with the 2015 – 2016 school year.
  4. The Jason Flatt Act was passed in honor of Jonathan Childers, a 15 year old student from Fairfield ISD who took his life.

Utah

The Jason Flatt Act of Utah HB 0501

During the 2012 legislative session, HB0501, also known as The Jason Flatt Act, was passed with an effective date of July 1, 2012. The Jason Flatt Act was introduced in the House by Representative Erik Hutchings and in the Senate by Senator Karen Mayne. Governor Gary Herbert signed the bill into law on March 26, 2012. Utah is the eighth state to pass the Jason Flatt Act. This legislation requires mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention training for licensed personnel. Major components of the legislation are:
  1. School districts and charter schools must require each licensed employee to complete two hours of youth suicide prevention.
  2. The required two hours of professional development on youth suicide prevention must be completed within their license cycle.
  3. The Utah Board of Education shall develop or adopt sample materials to be used for the training.

West Virginia

The Jason Flatt Act of West Virginia SB 221 Effective July 1, 2012

During the 2012 legislative session, SB 221, also known as The Jason Flatt Act, was passed with an effective date of July 1, 2012. West Virginia became the seventh state to pass the Jason Flatt Act when Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed this important legislation into law on March 12, 2012. A ceremonial signing was held on March 13, 2012. This legislation requires mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention training for teachers and principals. Major components of the legislation are:
  1. Mandatory training for all professional educators, including principals and administrators and those service personnel having direct contact with students, teachers and principals.
  2. In-service training must include two hours of youth suicide awareness and prevention education each school year.
  3. Training is required in order to maintain or renew their teaching license.
  4. This education may be accomplished through self-review of suicide prevention materials and resources approved by the State Board.

Wyoming

The Jason Flatt Act of Wyoming SF 0078 / Enrolled Act No. 31, Senate Effective July 1, 2014

According to SF 0078 / Enrolled Act No. 31, Senate (The Jason Flatt Act Wyoming): Commencing with school year 2014-2015 and each school year thereafter, with funds made available to the district under the Wyoming education resource block grant model as defined under W.S. 21-13 101(a) (xiv), require each teacher and school administrator within the district to receive at least eight (8) hours of suicide prevention education every four (4) school years using suitable materials reviewed and recommended by the state superintendent under W.S. 21-2-202(a) (xxxv).