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AB-2686 Early identification of pupil mental health issues: in-service training for certificated employees and classified staff.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/16/2018 09:00 PM
AB2686:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 16, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 20, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2686


Introduced by Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer

February 15, 2018


An act to add Section 49419 to Chapter 3.3 (commencing with Section 44700) to Part 25 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Education Code, relating to pupil health.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2686, as amended, Jones-Sawyer. Pupil mental health: school administrator and staff training policy. Early identification of pupil mental health issues: in-service training for certificated employees and classified staff.
Existing law requires the governing board of any school district to give diligent care to the health and physical development of pupils and authorizes the governing board of a school district to employ properly certified persons for the work.

This bill would require the governing board or body of a local educational agency, defined to mean a county office of education, school district, state special school, or charter school, that serves pupils in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to, before the beginning of the 2019–20 school year, adopt a training policy on pupil mental health for its school administrators and staff, as specified. By imposing additional duties on county offices of education, school districts, and charter schools, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

This bill would require each school district, county office of education, and charter school to provide in-service training to certificated employees and classified staff on the early identification of pupil mental health issues, as provided. By imposing additional duties on school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The mental health needs of thousands of pupils go unnoticed. These are the pupils who suffer in silence, often dropping out of school and falling victim to addiction, homelessness, suicide, or other tragic outcomes due to unaddressed mental health issues.
(b) In 2012, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, convened the Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup to develop policy recommendations that promote early identification, referral, coordination, and access to quality mental health services for pupils.
(c) While some of the state’s vulnerable youth are in specialized programs, most of the pupils with mental health challenges are in regular classrooms. In both situations, many of the educators and staff for these programs lack training to identify pupils in need, make referrals, and, as appropriate, to help pupils overcome or manage the mental health barriers they face every day of their lives. Adding to the problem, educators and staff may become stressed and overwhelmed by the mental health challenges of pupils.
(d) Statewide action is needed to expand training throughout California so that all school administrators and staff can become “gatekeepers” and “first responders” who help address the significant pupil mental health needs in all regions. School-based, family-oriented services should be emphasized in order to reduce stigma and increase follow through with referrals to improve pupil mental health.
(e) While some parts of the state have benefited from mental health training on a small scale, limited budgets have restricted the reach of training that is critically needed in all districts. Federal grant funds are now available for pilot programs in school districts and county offices of education to help disseminate mental health training throughout the state.
SEC. 2.Section 49419 is added to the Education Code, to read:
49419.

(a)The governing board or body of a local educational agency, as defined in subdivision (e), that serves pupils in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, shall, before the beginning of the 2019–20 school year, adopt a training policy on pupil mental health for its school administrators and staff. The policy shall be developed in consultation with school and community stakeholders and school-employed mental health professionals.

(b)A training policy on pupil mental health shall address the training to be provided to school administrators and staff, that shall, at a minimum, identify mental health issues in pupils as the mental health issues arise, especially during adolescence, to provide professional development relating to pupil mental health to educators, and to provide information resources relating to pupil mental health to community members.

(c)(1)Materials approved by a local educational agency as part of a training policy on pupil mental health for school administrators and staff shall include how to identify appropriate mental health services, both at the schoolsite and within the larger community, and when and how to refer youth and their families to those services.

(2)Materials approved for training as described in paragraph (1) may include programs that can be completed through self-review.

(d)A training policy on pupil mental health shall be written to ensure that a school administrator or staff member acts only within the authorization and scope of his or her credential or license. Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing or encouraging a school administrator or staff member to diagnose or treat mental illness unless he or she is specifically licensed and employed to do so.

(e)For purposes of this section, “local educational agency” means a county office of education, school district, state special school, or charter school.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 3.3 (commencing with Section 44700) is added to Part 25 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Education Code, to read:
CHAPTER  3.3. In-Service Training: Early Identification of Pupil Mental Health Issues

44700.
 (a) (1) Within the first six weeks of each school year, as part of a regularly scheduled staff meeting or meetings, each school district, county office of education, and charter school shall provide in-service training to certificated employees who provide instruction to pupils in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, on the early identification of pupil mental health issues.
(2) Within the first six weeks of each school year, each school district, county office of education, and charter school shall provide during regular work hours in-service training to classified staff who have regular personal contact with pupils in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, on the early identification of pupil mental health issues.
(3) The in-service training described in paragraphs (1) and (2) shall include training on protocols for referring pupils to appropriate mental health services.
(4) A school district, county office of education, or charter school may provide the training described in this subdivision in an online format outside of a staff meeting. Training provided pursuant to this paragraph shall be provided during regular work hours.
(b) The Legislature encourages school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to provide the training described in subdivision (a) as part of a larger initiative aimed at improving mental health outcomes for pupils.
(c) The Legislature encourages school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to use existing funds from state and federal sources, as appropriate, to provide the training described in subdivision (a).

44701.
 Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as doing either of the following:
(a) Requiring school personnel to assess, diagnose, or treat pupil mental health issues.
(b) Authorizing or encouraging school personnel to act outside of the authority granted by their credential or license.

SEC. 3.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.